Coming Down to Drink

by Frank Dux

What beasts are these coming down to drink
at the shallow pools in the river bed?
The drought has drawn them out.
                        And now the herdsmen;
two, three. One squats; the others stand leaning
on their spears. They do not watch the herd.
Their eyes rest in space. A breeze rises, stirs
the grass – and memory. Where have I seen
these men before? and these elegant beasts
with outswept horns?
                        The squatting man now stands.
The herd is clambering back up the bank,
dry clods breaking away under their hooves.
This too is memory – as is the rain,
large drops at first, spattering the dust,
a sudden coolness falling on my arms.