Sunday, December 10, 2006

by Joan Dobbie March 2004

We were building a pond together.
Bring those stones, you said, here hold this plastic.
And as I carried, and pulled, lifted, and lay down,
and you carried and pulled, lifted, and lay down,

I felt as if we’d been together, you and I,
for so many years there’d never been a time
without the two of us
and never would be.

As we sat in our lawn chairs, lightly touching fingers,
watching our fountain rise up and rain down
over our statues and stones and
water, keeping our pond alive,
I remembered my grandparents, already in their 80s,

how they’d sat on their back yard bench, almost shyly
holding hands, looking out over their garden
that they grew together again & again every summer
of my childhood

content with their five or six
healthy corn stalks, and their tiny, burgeoning
tomato patch, almost blushing if we children
should happen to notice
how they nourished one another, that for them

after Kristalnacht, shipwreck, loss of family,
livelihood, language--
every badge of self-respect, they still had one another, and
this small garden was enough.