Daniels Pond

Northwest of the White Mountains, east
of St. Albans, site of Southern
revenge against Northern aggression,
among an embarrassment of ponds,
south of Lake Memphremagog, which north
of the border becomes Lac Memphrémagog,
and directly west of Machias, Maine,
1775’s “Lexington of the seas,”
I stood above the frozen pond and wondered
how long it might take to die.
Would the ice crack long, before
it gave way? Would it hurt? Would I
cry out? And if I did, would they
hear me up in the house, over
the roar of the afternoon’s energy
and my son declaiming his toys’ names,
again and again? Would I struggle?
Or would I slip right in, as into bed, as
into sleep, the cold silence bubbling
over my billowing hair and
heavy, ballooning winter clothes?
As the legend goes, the Pigman
—a grotesque amalgam of man
and pig, cloven hooves & upturned
snout—roams the county, stealing
livestock and scaring teenagers.
In the woods behind the house,
near sunset, the wind wailed
through the pines, and we
found the failed remains
of an old shack. It’s only
a myth
we said to one another, but disbelieving
ourselves, headed for home.

Kevin O’Rourke lives in Philadelphia, where he works as a science writer and edits The Hairsplitter. He studied art at Kenyon College and writing at the University of Minnesota. His work has been published in or is forthcoming from Cobalt Review, Tammy, and Seneca Review, among others. His collection of essays, As If Seen At An Angle, is forthcoming from Tinderbox Editions.