It’s not every day the river
offers up a bucket but here’s a pail,
pale blue. For an hour we fill it
with the river’s clutter, handles, pipes,
blue and white china, tumbled
glass, a cap badge.
Loaded, and we stink of mud, we turn to go
back along the beach but the beach has gone.
The tide’s sneaked up behind a bend
close by us, slip-slapping on the river-wall.
It snaps at your red boots,
and since you are a metre tall,
its hunger makes me also feel small, endangered,
startled as an animal, driven to scale
the weed-hung wall.
You swing yourself over the parapet
and pointing to the bucket in displeasure,
chatter like a marmoset. I have it, yes,
but to follow you and bring it too
I’ve jettisoned the best
part of your treasure.