Under the shallow slush the pond’s become, protected by a shield of pebbled ice, a koi lies motionless, his muscles numb. What sunrays breach the surface can’t entice the sleeper from his bed. However bright his scales seemed in summer, winter has stripped their copper of its luster, starved of light to set them blazing in this frosted crypt. Experience has promised him revival: shimmering ripples in the breeze beyond and April snowmelts quick enough to rival the flood in Genesis. Until the pond is so reborn, he’ll bide his time, each sigh of water past his gills composed and dry.
Michael Mingo is a poet and medical editor from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He earned his MFA in poetry from the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, and his work has appeared or is forthcoming in Spillway, RHINO, Third Coast, and The McNeese Review, among other journals.
This poem won the second place prize for the Crystal Ox poetry contest in Winter 2023.