Grey scarecrow, on a lunch break,
cold, wet feet slapping
the pond’s slippy edge, up from hunched
and convinced of a coming fight,
each inch the swan swam closer
this heron’s grey wings swung out wider
in flightless hexagons of antagonism,
and as the bird’s beak needled forward,
it’s face froze in scrawny fierceness,
thoughts of baby duck guzzling gone.
Seconds slid by as the swan glid
between unwanted blinks.
Whiteness, ghosting towards him,
its encompassing wake
of invisible courtiers.
Suddenly sure of successlessness
his herring-bone shoulders
slunk to slope,
a funebrial feel shovelled him down
with all the weight of
a rained-on overcoat,
as maybe a civil service suitcase
dropped from his bird-palm,
in vague defeat,
and he could have sworn
a smile swam the length of the swan’s beak.