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Surface Water

Matt Gilbert

Unravelling north through a wilderness

of warehouse, the Wandle lies on walking

maps, flowing ribbon-perfect azure blue.

Not yet lost, unlike its buried city siblings,

this river is still running. Turning ghostly

waterwheels as it courses to the Thames.

Once cherished depths, fat with trout, eyed

by antique anglers, provide a graveyard now,

for furiously retired bikes and the punctured

carcasses of old blown safes. A mangled mess,

gifted to a wheezing river god, overlooked

by watchful heron, static on abandoned crates.

But though the gullet has been choked of late,

with pennywort, discarded masks and cans –

kingfishers will insist on hunting it, despite us.

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