squat on a stone bench,
i watch the water ripple toward the lake’s edge
when i notice a swan lift suddenly from the water
& move like an arrow in my direction.
bewildered, i stiffen in my seat.
a foot from my feet
the swan plants its own,
stands up straight as the buildings surrounding us
& looks me right in the eyes.
i place my pen between the pages of a book & close it.
the swan begins to point to the center
of its outstretched, empty hand,
then frantically rubs its stomach,
never making a sound.
i know this language.
apologizing, i shake my head;
the swan nods
then turns & flies
straight back to the center of the lake.