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High priest of mud

lord of silt and shallows

you ritualise with stillness

stir of wind and water

engrave the random with solemnity.

Through film of cloud and sun

you stare

past your own gaunt image

scanning plumes of sand

that bloom around your sunken toes.


At last your snake-neck strikes

stabs down

tube of muscle

welded to a sharp barbaric beak.

Flash of wriggling silver

feeling of a thin high scream

then hinges open

and the supple peristaltic neck

implodes upon its prey.


Seeing me

you rise

ancient gallows taking wing

utter an indignant rusty “cronk”

and flap across the waves

your shadow trailing

like an unacknowledged ancestor.