Darting Fishers

Along the Chobe River,
close to the Mowana Safari Lodge,
we spotted a tree boasting
a colony of African darters.
They are like large cormorants
but more elegant.
Their heads are small;
their beaks like harpoons.

Their long-kinked necks curve
with grace into their raven bodies.
Those bodies lengthen into
exquisite fan tails.
They have great heron wings,
so when they fly,
they look like soaring crucifixes
darkening the sky.
These darters,
show-stopping fishers,
spear their catch
and then flip it into the air—
not unlike a cat tossing its prey—
catch it, and swallow it headfirst.
Fish taste better that way.



On Seeing Lions for the First Time