I used to jounce my old Chevy
Off the dirt road
Along a rutted track
To the pond itself:
Three acres of the stillest cobalt water
Lipped by mixed hardwood and pine.

I dreamed of living there.
Stocking the pond, clearing
A little place for corn, hunting,
Letting the world slide by.

It was never more than a fantasy
But a fantasy with substance,

I went back last spring
After forty years.

The road was paved,
There were power lines,
New houses that weren’t new any more
With speedboats on trailers—
Those emblems of nouveau-almost-middle class

I walked through alder and juniper
(A faint track was still there)
To the pond, and—

The pond was gone.

How can a pond be gone?

There was a marshy place
With cattails and saplings
A frog and a red-winged blackbird
Precarious on a tall weed.

I thought:
“Glad I didn’t settle here—
The fishing’s gone to hell.”

Well, time passes, that’s a fact
And when you see it day by day
In your mirror, your kids,
Your car, your job, your friends
It’s not that hard to accept.

But when forty years
Hit you in a flash
Well, that’s another story.

I’m glad, I’m really glad
I’ve got three beers in the car.

Andrew Hubbard was born and raised in a coastal Maine fishing village. He earned degrees in English and Creative Writing from Dartmouth College and Columbia University, respectively. He has had four prose books published, and his fifth and sixth books, collections of poetry, were published in 2014 and 2016 by Interactive Press.