Wednesday, October 7, 2009


i light a Gauloise.
waves tiptoe behind me
draw up lines
of orange halfshells.

i turn to light steps beside me
find five swans swimming
in amorphous formation
as they come from dry to wet
and extend wings in anticipation.

the waves draw the water
from their webbed feet
as they approach.

i crouch on my haunches
get the last few drags from my cigarette
while they circle me
emitting low growling sounds
like big cats
curious, smelling my hat and cigarette.
they stretch their wings again
all taller than my crouched form.

i turn slowly
to look at each swan.

the bravefooted father first,
the largest, with long slender neck,
wings as wide as he is tall.
the orange bill and black mask
lead me into pressing eyes.

i try to read the greybrown mottled feathers
and the black bills
of the three young swans.
ducklings, goslings, foundlings
displace the stones and shells
search a bite of bread
left for them last night.
orange shells and white stones
will color their beaks and feathers.

the mother
drinks me up as saltwater
falls from her legs
causing shells and stones
to glint against the sun.

she is slightly smaller and more trim
than the other white swan,
matching him for colors.

she comes closest to me.
a sideways oneeyed glance
trims my whiskers.
she has the same low growl
the same reaching wings
and moves closer.

my jacket creaks, mimics
her growl as i reach
my hand, low, toward her.

she growls, shies and allows
my hand to touch the feathers
on her breast at the base
of her neck
and she calmly continues circling.

i stand to no change
in their formation of a widening circle
of quiet shells and stones.

small fish mingle thru ripples.
soft steps of tiptoeing waves
behind and beside me
the swans follow in their weighty
patient walk.

No comments: