In the pond in the park all things are doubled: Long buildings hang and wriggle gently. Chimneys are bent legs bouncing on clouds below. A flag wags like a fishhook down there in the sky. The arched stone bridge is an eye, with underlid in the water. In its lens dip crinkled heads with hats that don't fall off. Dogs go by, barking on their backs. A baby, taken to feed the ducks, dangles upside-down, a pink balloon for a buoy. Treetops deploy a haze of cherry bloom for roots, where birds coast belly-up in the glass bowl of a hill; from its bottom a bunch of peanut-munching children is suspended by their sneakers, waveringly. A swan, with twin necks forming the figure 3, steers between two dimpled towers doubled. Fondly hissing, she kisses herself, and all the scene is troubled: water-windows splinter, tree-limbs tangle, the bridge folds like a fan.
From Poems Old and New by May Swenson, published by Houghton Mifflin. Copyright © 1994 by the Literary Estate of May Swenson. Used by permission of the Literary Estate of May Swenson. All rights reserved.