from a plunge attack froze in the late fall
cold spell, early for New Jersey, unexpected
worrying auger for the winter to come,
& the weight of ice—two inches in spots—
pulling it down to where your fish already
huddle. First, I broke the surface repeatedly
with a hammer not knowing until later
when, after my heroics, you told me
the sonic assault on their fragile bodies
could kill them. Proud I was as I hauled
that net full of broken ice gleaming
like glass out of the pond like a fish
net of love & guilt out into the lawn
to catch some sun & maybe melt. I
had no idea what work went into keeping
these fish alive all these years, father.
After every task, a new one waiting.
I’ve left the long-handled net out.
Leaves still fall from the trees
& must be scooped out to avoid
spring sludge. Whether you will be
here in spring is uncertain. But I
imagine myself come late March—
after whatever we are going to endure
peering into the depths for a glimpse
of motion to see which ones
survived & if any have died.