in duckweed and watercress, tiny paws folded
over its chest. I resign myself to stretching out
in the sun-warmed shallows, hands spread out in the water
determined to catch vestiges of the river otter’s dreams.
In fairy tales, this would be the time when the river otter
would wake and swim out to me to speak
of wishes and promises and secret treasures and marriage
emerge a prince from the water, dripping jewels and starlight
instead, tiny, unbidden ripples
spread across the water from where I lay
to where the otter sleeps, don’t, won’t stop
until the animal wakes and swims away.
Holly Day has been a writing instructor at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Grain, and Harvard Review, and her newest poetry collections are Into the Cracks (Golden Antelope Press), Cross Referencing a Book of Summer (Silver Bow Publishing), The Tooth is the Largest Organ in the Human Body (Anaphora Literary Press), and Book of Beasts (Weasel Press).