El Laguito II

It was here I learned to glide
down slippery rock,
the pond’s self-made waterslide;
catch minnows who became pets
for an hour until, godlike,
I set them free.

It was here police caught me
and teenage girlfriends skinny dipping.
Come out of the water, deep voices
blared through bullhorns,
red and blue lights polluting
a night sky, flashlights shining
on young bodies. It was here

that early boyfriend, the one
who loved me more than I liked him
but who I thought I should go down
on anyway, pulled my head
too close, held it too long
while I could barely breathe.

Here, I’d sit with my sister, now gone,
talking about books, the beauty
of untranslatable words in Spanish
like horripilante and qué manía,
or with my mom, also gone,
sipping yerba mate, gazing at the water
talking about time and loss:
Years from now we’ll be gone,
she said, others will take our place.

Everything happened here.
But when I look close and listen:
still water reflects clouds, and even
when it ripples, leaves rustle,
a cardinal twitters, crows caw
from treetops, the world stops.

In this pause between moments
nothing ever happened, nothing will.
Yet maybe—like a sigh
that takes it all in—everything
also happens, right now,
right here. Maybe you were wrong,
Mama: Time doesn’t lose a thing.