The Consolations by Jane Zwart

What does one do with the pond
that drowns a child?
Beyond the obvious things, I mean.
Of course the cops should circle
the water in yellow,
beginning where the child entered
the mirror and stretching the ribbon
sapling to sapling,
waist-high. And if no one has the heart
to turn the good hearted away,
there’s nothing for it.
You will have to let the woodworkers
stake their homemade roods in the beach–
forming a lowercase
Normandy; have to bear the parishioners
twisting votives into the sand’s give,
working their wrists
as if dialing cookie cutters into shortbread.
You will have to abide the neighbors
who float baby’s breath,
like fish flakes, on the pond’s calm.
Later, later
let who owns the acre
hang a gate
and build a fence to match.
Let them post a sign
and let its stickman
never tire of swimming
through the scalloped water
behind a zero’s red sash.
Jane Zwart teaches writing and literature at Calvin University, where she also co-directs the Calvin Center for Faith & Writing. Her poems have previously appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry, Ploughshares, Threepenny Review, Plume, and TriQuarterly, as well as other journals and magazines.