Swans on Avon
by Jill C. Alt

A dream
of swans drifts through
the surreal heat
of Stratford, Ontario.
ignores red-faced strollers
along the river
then paddles
to shore
where patrician beauties
haughty and slender
on the water

transform to
lumplings on
outsize feet
scaly as
ancient raptors, with
steel tendons
big as biceps,
webs between
thick as dragon skin;
twin pedal motors
to power
the proud glide.

Ashore, the swans
poke bills deep
into private parts, in
great pecking swoomps–
in full public view
as if nothing can
tarnish the image;
as if no amount of
backstage preening
will compete
with performance;
with the slide of
tall white birds above
the rippling surface
of a sunlit Avon.


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