Swan Hill

by Jennie Howitt

Down this one-way tarmac river
the houses are masked by a latticed ebony

merged on the banks by bricked dust piles,
which steepens to the cloud paved meridian

and descends, a trance, a curved water rod;
less of a hill than an asphalt fountain

the silent swans that once swam
through the crisp, pedestrial winds

are long gone, are now necked stalks of puddles:
this hill now homes

the fluorescent builders, who strum algae scaffolds,
peer down the ledges like nested eggs,

and are nocturnal like the dampened lamppost-
the bulb a golden beak,

plastic bags are the bleached feathers
that are thrown in ripples;

a euphony of car sirens, cygnets calling out-
deceived by signposts,

beneath the murky windows, doyley winged glass,
dark browed faces loom, preparing for flight