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