I lie in a tent on a sandbank in the river
and wonder would I hear the water rise.
The otter’s snoring serves as metronome
for the heartbeat pace of words the moonlight limns.
I wake and all realities retreat,
except the one that’s standing watch today.
In the south of France Lucindas lean on trees,
or dance. For me. For joy. Up here the rain
leaches colour from the just-turned falling leaves.
I shall never see MacArthur Park again.
I see a shimmering line, a lifeline or a serpent,
undulating in the inshore moonlit current,
so close by I could touch it if I woke …
Downstream, or up, a church bell counts the hours.
Four chimes. Clouds mass. It is so sudden dark.
A priest of gentle parentage gets shriven,
or knotted, now for naught his pack of genes
that travelled aeons to arrive in him,
cold on his perch, before the furnace door.
Cold breezes stir the tent. Up high: the jet stream.
Clouds thin. They go. The smuttily full moon
invades the damp sand, wakes the snoring otter.
It caught a fish for each of us last evening.
I called mine sushi. The otter ate both heads.
We spoke the way that mammals do cross-species,
before it slept, of whether there’d be weather.
I need deep sleep, a day of dry, a boat,
the fun of congregations without creeds.
The otter wakes. It watches where that snake,
or pliant water plant, hangs in the current.
We fantasise together it’s a god,
our refuge for describing what’s unknown.
We wish for more fish. I wish for a fire,
and the otter for a thing I do not know.
I shall never see MacArthur Park again
or the reality that has the watch tomorrow.