when Cara drowned in the pond they called “God’s Mirror.”
A group of 20 or so, they’d staked claim to native lands, pitched tents
and yurts, strung hammocks between blackjack oak and madrone.
“Coyote Man sent the frog down to the bottom of the pond
for mud to make land. After four years, no go. And what was it?
A few grains of sand, and a few scattered sticks to make us. Crazy, right?” she said.
“And from all that, can you believe it? We live in one infinitesimal
crosshatch of a nanosecond in the scope earth’s span, hardly even
a gnat’s gasp,” he said, and blew the seeds from a flower.
The silky filaments caught the updraft and danced skyward.
“That’s why we need to implode every now, now, now.”
Cara had taken a jar of peanut butter and a spoon to the bank
of the pond. Nut’s essence, slow savor of the dense paste.
She ate until her stomach ached.
“Look,” she said to no one, for she had wondered far from all.
“Look.” It was one of her 30 words.
There on the water, 2 dragonflies coupled in an iridescent scintilla,
bodies arced, filigreed wings stilled for the instant.
She was barefoot, always so, so Cara waded in
past her ankles, past her knees,
past her plump waist, her dress dragging,
her diaper growing heavy, absorbing pondwater.
She wanted only to hold such delicate tracery in her hand,
but the bottom was muddy and slick, rich with reeds and rot,
and once down, she couldn’t right herself.
“Oh god, no!” Her mother moaned from the rise above God’s Mirror.
They all ran, tripping and stumbling, down the hill to the pond.
Cara was floating face down at the edge, surrounded by cattails,
tule, sedge. How did the Miwok craft watertight baskets from such?
Her flowered dress spread around her like petals, the dragonflies
alit upon her, flashing like fine strands of neon
as if illuminating the lashes of the steady eyes of God.