Funeral for the Don

Choreography by Nova Bhattacharya
Music by Germaine Liu
Performed by Lucy Rupert & Germaine Liu

Lucy Rupert, choreography Nova Bhattacharya. Photo: Saajid Motala

That particular night heron spent
two motionless hours perched on a post
poking through the surface near a crack
in the concrete that encases the lower bank.
Its grey-blue bill trained on water, head feathers
ever-so-slightly rearranged by the breeze. Mourners
in the hundreds were drifting downriver
aboard kayak, canoe, rowboat, raft, reenacting
the Funeral for the Don.1 The chief keener,
mid-wail, erect in the bow, spotted
the stock-still bird. Fell
mute. The heron’s intentions
were clear. People stared. Some leaned
so far over to peer (like the bird)
directly into the stink, their
vessels began to list.

 Don River, Crossings and Expeditions — Anita Lahey

Photo: Saajid Motala