I recall this large deep pond
In my childhood home,
Twelve steep steps to get down to the bottom
On all four sides,
A large fountain at its center
And at the top–
A bronze statue of I know-not-what.

A picture of my sister and me and our lifelong friend
Playing at its edge with our dolls and tea-set
A make-believe tea-party we never drank at.
My cousin almost drowned in the pond–
My father had it emptied,
The moss grew along its tall walls,
And the bronze statue of I know-not-what.

I returned to that home,
Many decades later
With my young children and their curious stares.
The pond had crumbled at the edges where we played,
The base of the fountain empty at the top
The bronze statue stolen,
Likely pawned for its metallic worth, or whatever one got.

So, the stories of how we played on summer evenings
And hid behind the slippery steps,
And watched the monsoon rains fill up the pond
And heard the frogs and tadpoles croak and watched the fireflies catch the fading sun,
Lost–except for a picture of a friend, my sister and me
at a fake tea party with plastic cups and lifeless dolls,
Witnessed by a now-melted bronze statue of I know-not-what.