near Norwich, by the Thames

Trees merge with the darkness     coral, camouflaged
above the river,     quiet, smooth and ceaseless.
Hidden by nightfall,     stars, arranged
in the heavens,     drift     reflected there.

You tugged your sweater close around your dress
& let me wrap an arm across your shoulder as
the last of summer pulled us both downstream,
so adamant, so casual, unvarying, and calm.

Those fingers lifted to my shivering lips
were hidden in the darkness too     & now
my heartbeat mimics you
& stained with all this darkness, steps
toward some anonymous London afterlife,
incognito (the ache     of universal grief).

Henry Gould | Island Road 29
Contents | Mudlark No. 6