So… unlikely: so many feet above
the lake, in ponds filled with nothing but rain
minnows are springing half a finger length
out of the water, little Gothic windows
flashing and sinking back into rings of ripples.
How did they get here? — How did any of us?
A biologist friend explains they must have climbed
the tiny streams whose dry black beds run inches deep
in spring and fall; or birds may have dropped them –
poetic beginnings, romantic but scientific.
Until she said they’d be there I never saw them.
What else lives in here? A lifetime couldn’t count them all
yet once there wasn’t a single living thing
on earth: chemicals, complex mixes, lightning, and
something began remaking itself, stubborn,
creeping like happiness across the landscape.
John Donlan is a poetry editor with Brick Books and a reference librarian at the Vancouver Public Library. His collections of poetry are Domestic Economy (Brick Books), Baysville (House of Anansi), Green Man (Ronsdale Press), and Spirit Engine (Brick Books.) See his website at www.onlink.net/johndonlan