When they finally dredge the boy up from the bottom of the pond he lifts high on the winch dangling like a forgotten Christmas ornament tucked alone between bare branches. Swinging in a night with no wind, he is lowered in arcs and stutters by a man busy at black knobbed controls towards a father so racked in grief and loosed with bourbon no one stands anywhere near him. Mercifully, the color and catalog of struggle is masked by a sun an hour past setting. Even the search lights turn haltingly away from the sudden clamor of connection for what it was everyone has been trying to find.
I am close enough that pond water waves ripple up close to where I stand apart from the others, watching breathlessly as dank weeds and rivulets of water slip from sloped arms and skewed feet. They are bare, blue tinged and rest limply without the shoes that lie buried as ransom in the muck.
Women hold their children and men hold their dogs and I finally let go my breath into a wailing siren sounding for nothing but for its leaving. And with darkness fully down and the houselights bright across the banks I hop logs and run streaming through low branches thick with webs and wide leaves and pull the heavy air wet into my lungs until bounding up the back steps I go looking for my daughter, but find she is already gone to her mother’s for the night.