In the seamless night I wandered down to water
and found him waiting, sprawled in the bow
of a stolen boat. We’ve been here before, he said.
I clambered in, slipped the knot and rowed
past dock-side cranes, snoozing cormorants,
one vast tax-dodging ship called The World.
Ahead, a giant’s thigh rose up like a hill,
long, lean and muscular. Everything was quiet
except the barking lighthouse. Waves licked
the boat, the boat opened its mouth
and sang a song for no one to hear. We rode
the sea in the belly of that song and when Earth
tilted to the sun he started to disappear. I wanted
to go with him but my flesh was too dense. We’ve
been here before, he said, we’ll be here again.
I want to keep that first sighting
of a heron fishing in the Tiber
etch it into glass
so that when night comes
we can point a torch
project its slim shadow body
onto the wall. Light and shade,
a rain-rushed river, the way
the two of us stood on a bridge
and watched it fish.
We’ll say something
about the neck, reeled in
or stretched out
and the improbable strength
of those two pine-needle legs
pitched against the current.
How fishermen carried a heron’s
foot in their pockets for luck,
or scattered pieces in the water
as magic bait.