Downtown Boathouse Evening
A Newfy, broad side-burned
in a goofy yellow shirt
squeezes reels and jigs
from a hollow musical snake.
sumptuous, earthy and beautiful
plucks a triangular banjo.
The setting sun
warms the boathouse boards
as I share the heron's stillness.
Water bugs leap like gazelles
from placid savannah grasses
winking flashes of silver.
Ducks churn purposefully,
bill-sniff side to side
dimpling the water's skin.
It is dinner time and the heron
intent on the island rock
steps once and twice into the shallow edge
retracts his beak like a cocked harpoon
and deepens his hungry stillness
as my toes, warmed by sun and music
keep the Newfy's beat.
A small crowd gathers behind the music makers:
a bicyclist or two, someone in a wheeled walker.
In the distance runners cross the railway bridge
young strides wide against blue sky.
The heron rips savagely, comically through his dignified stillness-
belly flops into the water, emerges ungainly with flopping
prey tweezered in his beak. It is duly pincered and gobbled.
Then proud stance resumed, a delicate sip or two of post-meal
river water, tea-time with pinky extended.
I rise from the warm boards; dinner waits nearby
at an elegant restaurant, itself doubtless no less a stage
for absurd and inelegant graspings.