he reads the welcome of swans

the ferryman knows his own life

is rich with incident

 

his paper boat, creased and folded

and he at the helm

 

cockeyed from staring at lovers

their haul of picnic baskets

 

his own palms worn thin

with the exchange of coins

 

his oar all dip and pull, the sweet

drag of water and always

 

returning, the bare-footed ones

who miss nothing

 

who no longer expect

the arrival of others

 

the ferryman rubs his eyes

a penny for each of them 

 

the swan unfolds 

the huge breathing of water