The Pond Museum

By Brandon Shimoda Brandon Shimoda
The fenestrate surface of the pond
surfaces in old companions     snag ripples
namely, Saburo
I recommend his face for the pond museum
above the fox’s skulking face
the hare’s face, death’s polished stone
the crane’s     larval pearl
eyes transmitting the code for a sodden voice
in the splintering reeds
And when I say I recommend
I mean the menagerie in the utmost dark
saviors hung from supping trees
gone the way of idiot flesh—where you
were endowed with a chance, and fucked up
Evening, I went down
on the pantry, pried open
a basket of rice cakes, grew
partial to eating in the dark
if only to concentrate the sound
of walking through the wilderness
at night, enlarged
without people
as wax I sleep in nectar
When was the flora brass
A woman kneeling among cranes
Willows waiting
for sticks to arrive
to burn cranes from her body
wind through which
No, it has always been this way
blooms erupting
suspicion, husband
making sure each dawn
the sticks stay lashed to his back, the wood
she waits for
thin as blades, and cut as close
To fallow soil
sea dragon in hand
proper, yes, though petrified
    crimson, pink, indigo, green
purple and yellow     lotus
cradle in the hedgerow
I feel
faint     exceptionally
hot      here on the ground
Should I be sweating this much?
Should the sea dragon weigh so heavily?
Bronze skin festooning the trees
cutting a spirit loose?
Carrion flowers
 from my hand

Brandon Shimoda, “The Pond Museum” from O Bon. Copyright © 2011 by Brandon Shimoda. Reprinted by permission of Litmus Press.

Source: O Bon (Litmus Press, 2011)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Brandon Shimoda

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Subjects Relationships, Nature

Poetic Terms Free Verse


Poet Brandon Shimoda was born in California and grew up in Connecticut. He earned a BA at Sarah Lawrence University and an MFA at the University of Montana. His collections of poetry include The Girl Without Arms (2011) and The Alps (2008).
Shimoda’s work weaves together personal and historical journeys, ruined landscapes, and innovative writing techniques. Publishers Weekly described the poems in The Girl Without Arms as . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poems by Brandon Shimoda

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Nature

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.