My Mother as Walden Pond

Issue FourPoetry

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By Tess Barry


Out of her twig-filled lungs a strong wind whirls


she is a small stream     obstructed

a standing body



in spring she floods parched uplands

in winter bristles over


she is walkable and swimmable


apple-tree wood roots inside her teeming throat

her calves and feet are pliable

as leisure

her fingers alburnum


white-paved stones encircle her

and mark the solitary home

of one lone Loon who laughs loud

at her watered-down jokes


she is time gestated in the song of whip-poor-will,

a seventeen-year Concord locust hatched of ribbed solitude


the serenade of fox, the swoop

of owl, a clear deep well of April green

the rising steam in January thaw


neither inlet or outlet


some think her bottomless

or speculate man-made

some say brought forth by rod


she contains herself in color

appears altered at a distance


sometimes her blue reflection rises

in the form of firm-fleshed fish


they swim her depths

which are transparent


“My Mother As Walden Pond” was a finalist for the 2014 Aesthetica Poetry Prize and previously published in Aesthetica: The Art and Culture Magazine’s 2014 Creative Writing Annual, UK.


Artwork by Jackie Benney. Published with permission of the artist.