we walk the towpath single file because of the stinging nettles you ahead, of course. You point out the things you want me to see a dead fish just beneath the surface. Two coots fighting each other. A swan in the reeds hissing when we approach I look at your back, the growing sweat pearls through your shirt. Once I would have kissed those drops away, one by one. now you call, pointing at a narrow boat passing by You stop leaning on your stick I know you'll greet the people on the deck like it's your territory. You stop waiting for an answer you don't want to miss anything I smile at you, I know you will ask me sit with you on the next bench wait for your lumbered breathing to ease look for a pub that isn't there. Where I walk I see all that goose mess there is no reply from the boat.