Late summer, Regents’ Canal

This water cannot cleanse,
Duckweed, varying hour to hour
In amount and distribution,
Strangles the water.
Narrowboats moored a few feet apart
Create private pools untouched by currents,
Rubbish settles here.
A black plastic bag, half in the water,
Inflates and deflates
Like a black plastic heart.

Three feet from Maiden Lane Bridge
A series of overlapping pools of spit
Rise in uncooked meringue peaks.
An unshaven young man with
Skin so dirty as to obscure his race
Adds to this collection.

A brief rainstorm-
The surface of the water wriggles
With thousands of watery sidewinders
And is pricked in places by
Raindrops that morph into concentric circles
Which expand then disappear.

Small white butterflies abound.
Like music they move in unanticipated directions
Curving upward, spiralling down,
Blown by gusts of wind-
Beauty thus loses control of where and to whom
It appears.
Light, unpredictable grace.

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