keeps to the dark of the tides,
so he keeps away from the riverside.
Every time she moves inland,
he wishes to be better lit.
Her breaths are not hidden.
a swan’s wing away from brokenness.
Historically the town has never been flooded.
River height engineered low as if an anger
held in check by self control.
Night to him is when the streets sway under water, like weed.
And in the day
the lap of dark castor fibers gnaw willowbark
at water’s edge, loosen sense so if the rains
come as before he will have no defence
in the deluge.
Her lightless body will smother
every hole in his body. He will
gasp for air, lungs so painful
he must find light to breathe.
A harsh click. He imagines a moorhen,
then sees a brusque robin,
red chest on a white gargoyle
in a neglected garden,
with a mossy fence and high weed,
“A swinging brick for a heart.
Ericathus rubicula. Robin, love.”
declares a woman in rollers
and black cat onesie
when she crosses his path
to put out a recycling bin.
“Come in for a coffee. I’ve just brewed up.”
“On my way to work.”
“Call on your way home. I’ll be in.”
“I don’t know you.”
“You have an interest in birds is all I need to know ”
“I could be a stalker. What’s your mobile number?”
“Don’t mess with those. Google means go,ogle.Portable masturbation devices, bit of vibration, bit of titillation. I rather ogle what’s around me. Get a feel, if I can. Who would stalk this?”
She models her rollers, onesie and Muppet slippers.
He calls at her home after work,
to see a slim blonde spray tanned
young woman knelt down in tight pink
short shorts, and crop top plunge
a bright trowel
into the hard
“Hi.” she says “I’m Raquel.”
“Kate said you might pop by.
So I said I give you a head
start. Shouldn’t have got my
nails done. Blonde for a reason, eh!”
He sees the dark tide rise
in her pale blue eyes
hears the swan’s wing.
A shout from the front door.
“Aye, my bush needs a trim.
You up to it?”
“Kate. You’ll scare him off.”
They laugh out loud.
A little boy beside Kate
“This is Jacob.
Go shake the man’s
hand, then.” she pushes
Jacob toward him.
“Come on in. Can’t have
the neighbours saying
I’m not sociable,
and I’m sure you’ve ogled
enough of Raquel’s nature
for now. Jacob, get in
you little scamp.”