Pat Jones

Botanical Garden

by J. D. Smith

The trade show done, the flight home well ahead,
The hour too soon to linger in a bar,
We leafed through what the brochures said
Might make use of our time and rental car.
Arriving at a point of local pride
And global note, according to its ads,
We bought feed at the pond, then cast it wide
And watched for motion in the lily pads.
First one koi buoyed and snatched its floating dole,
As we had seized a sample or a lead.
Soon others rose, a sudden, mottled shoal;
The water roiled with something more than need.
We threw no more and wished the water clearer:
Less of a feeding frenzy — or a mirror.

J. D. Smith has published two collections and is circulating two others, and in 2007 was awarded a Fellowship in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts. Updates are available at his blog,