Cloud River


The forest gulps down rain
as it falls through steaming shadows
where the thin, the bright
and brittle creatures cling
to life and leaves:
                              a mixed flock
of tanagers, manikins,and dacnis;
an insect still evolving
into a walking stick; and the armadillo
with his armored spirit,
              A Spectacled Owl is a brushstroke
of feathers against foliage
in trees turning liquid.
The river is pulling
at the bank past the tiger heron
whose fine bones flow through its neck
and the iguana draped
along an angled trunk dripping sunlight
onto water
                  that muscles between
the seeing and the seen
where clouds pass into the spaces
between predator and prey.


David Chorlton


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