Heron

by Luke Otley

I didn’t realise how much I needed the rain
until it came, and kept coming
heavy and hard, reassuring
as a bronzed hand on the shoulder, silent,
two of us sheltering under one brolly
splashing, and the wind too, wrestling
with it like a rod reeling humongous carp.

We came to the river under a canopy
of thick red wood, the river whipped white,
boiling, and you shout:

“Heron!”

I didn’t really hear, a wet hood sucked to my head:

“What?”

“Heron!”

I paused too long, didn’t show
enough emotion, you say:

“You’ve spent too long in the city”

You’re right – I watch the heron watch the foam,
the river thrashes in time with my stomach
as my mind crashes against its man-made banks
fragile, fit to dissolve as easily as salt in water.