We shall tramp about, with our eyes
on small traps of water in the track.
His eyes will be mine, even the styes
that crowd the lid, and the black
lines like burnt cities when he squints.
They will be my seeing-through,
and as we hike together, loud hints
then silence, flicking early dew
up on our shins, – his stride
motions my stumble with a kick,
a mime for stubborn child,
an autism of shapes, a quick
conversation like a hundred others
had before. This time about our boots,
and how we both wanted brothers.
We spot a pair of busy coots,
tentative and hungry on a flooded mire,
pecking anything that moves
in their little square, eyes of fire
when we stamp through. They lose
the bead they both had on a water-
boatman, call us clumsy fools
and flee to the place they once caught a
young perch; those Kenfig pools,
where freshwater sinews
meet the muscular Bristol bore.
We sigh like butterfly-nets and continue,
parallel lines on a circular walk.
By Mattias Thomas