love by the river in springtime is a perilous thing

the sky is bruised
with purpled patches,
gauze of white cotton
cloud strewn unsteadily
across the southern horizon.

many have come
with their beach chairs
and their expensive long lenses
to watch the herons
chase each other round

the naked winter nests
in the farthest branches.
i watch them watching
from the pipe bridge over
pregnant waters, the little islands

sunk beneath the brown and the rushing,
tree roots emerging from the current like
strange seabirds that reach
for the sky. from the squawk
on the other side of the river,

i know the herons aren’t
in the trees. they’ve found higher
ground among the shallows and
play their love games, as we do,
amid the rocks and the shadow.