TROUT   [ 2 ]

  Snake in Leigh Woods

he was fishing;
his jewelled snake's head
black and violent gold
in brown forest water
flecked sunlight

'water-snake' I supposed
wherever that came from

head poised among reeds
purpose all his own
don't think he saw me
with his steel black eye
she went on

and me stopping on the trail among the alders
through hills like Isaan or Urewera
by the badger trail with the grey tipped hairs on blackberry
by the dusty trail coulda been made by mule trains
maybe was

pulling out my plastic pot of thai sticky rice, khao niaw, which as Rohan
the man pointed out was weirdo eating around here, arawy-dii with a banana though so who gives a

and who is this
on an old trail somewhere
who walks so slowly looking
eats khao niaw at noon
as a hot restless forest breathes and whispers
swarms with old names from anywhere

like Isaan or Urewera
snake stoat birch alder

—Andrew Coop
   © 1997