At the Pond

by Jason Zippro

watching young fish, their glistening milk
bodies, I sit on
the stone bench, my wife
reading Hildegard of Bingen.
I look out across the stretch
of sand where a couple,
young, in jogging clothes,
stop to stretch
along the benches.

The girl’s hair clipped
back with metal pins.
Her milky skin, and fingers
long and slender, hint
at the architecture underneath.

If a woman loves her man during intercourse
she will have a son.

The girl’s ribbed, long-
sleeved sweatshirt stops
at her wrists. Her eyes
and neck—narrow. Grey clavicle
sharp under her collar.

And if she doesn’t love him?

The tendons in the girl’s neck
slip up behind her jaw—a sharp line
of light in the shadow of her chin.

What are girls born of?

The girl stretches—white
as the fish, smooth as the water.

I don’t know

The man holds the girl’s side
with one hand, perhaps to feel
how hard her hip is.

What is the opposite of love?

They jog away.

I don’t know.

I don’t know.