River Wear, Durham

The path is still artificially lit; the darkness
just now outfalling. The river’s spate outstays
last night’s downpour, churning itself over
like the mind on a worry. Debris wavers on
the weir or is thrashed on an unplanned course.

A cormorant stretches out its wings on the bluff
in the early morning. Making its cross on the crag,
it claims survival space among the colony.
Unlike other water birds, its flight feathers let
the water enter: it must open out to recompose.

At the whim of the weather, the water will drop;
the paths in the distance become merely dark
with the aftermath. The river will outlast this rush
but not mourn it. The cormorant will not grieve
for what it never knew to be its difference.

The Reader, Winter 2016