by Mary R. Smith


The Chobe River boatman
takes my hand, steadies me
settling onto the bleached seat.
He navigates the murky waters.

The motor begins to strain
slaps the flat bottomed wooden
boat upriver. I have my
eye out for birds in hiding.

A sweep of dry mud appears
along the river; propeller unwinds
white caps scuttle, we scrape
and drift along the edges.

The bank is scored with holes
at orderly intervals. We wait
in a humid hush. Then ancient
murmurs rustle those vacancies.

Bee-eaters burst from their shadowy
burrows, a frenzy of carmine.
Curved beaks,whorls of wings
tessellate the clouds; tiny feet
alight, resilient on papyrus arcs.


“Learning to write poems is a journey – both a struggle and a delight.”