Submitted Date 03/05/2019

Skating on the Water
Age 11, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, 1956
a rainy day in summer

Rainy days were microscope days
when I glimpsed another kind
of gravity

sitting at my 'lab'
part real, part imagination
I was looking into secret worlds
for answers

a fly wing
sugar crystals
a halftone photograph
an onion skin
my toenail...

each of these magnified
revealed a different nature

during sunny days
I studied other worlds

lying on our small dock
I spent hours
watching the magic bugs
who skated on the pond's surface
without getting wet

and since the age of seven
I had set out in our rowboat
each summer going a bit further
until I had explored
the coastline
from the mill at one end
to the falls at the other

so on this wet afternoon
when I looked out
from this windowed room
I knew
each fallen tree where the turtles hid
each sandy spot where fish laid their eggs
each clump of cattails
where startled blackbirds flew out

now like building a sand castle
and imagining a kingdom
I held up a slide
and thought of Louis Pasteur in the movie -
I could see my room of glass
full of experiments
cluttered with test tubes, flasks and Bunsen burners

then suddenly miles off
I heard the moan of fog horns
at the entrance to the Canal

I looked up to see clouds of mist
painting the houses across the pond
in dark grey
before they disappeared

turning to my microscope
I sliced a fragment
from our weeping willow tree
whose branches dripped into the pond

under the lens the cross-section of
wood cells glowed transparently
like paper lanterns
that we lit every Fourth of July

and I knew
I had found my bearings

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  • Tomas Chough 2 weeks, 2 days ago

    Great memory and beautiful poem Rick! Thanks again for sharing with us!

    • Rick Doble 2 weeks, 1 day ago

      It's one of those memories where I imagine myself back there years ago like it was yesterday -- some memories are like that.

  • Nina Appasamy 1 week, 4 days ago

    This is very creative. It's really nice that you blended science and poetry in this piece. I can't wait to read what you write next.

    • Rick Doble 1 week, 3 days ago

      I've always felt that science could have a poetic aspect. Einstein thought that and some scientists have been inspired by dreams.