Once, the otter opened the cavern
of his mouth and talked the fish in
on hungry, muscular mornings,
and dozed away afternoons then,
in full-bellied contentment
with one webbed foot anchored
to the tie of a reed bed and
would, here, be lost to dreams
of water violets and the renaissance
of a rivered world.
Now, at night, he chases the path
of moonlight upon the ripples,
his slick form oils from the bank side:
still, he is only a spry shadow of himself.
He asks the stones
if they were ever constellations,
were they clutched at and brought low
by osprey to be snuffed out and hardened
beneath this stream,
they tell him they do not remember -
too much time torrented in one direction,
and memory dimmed in the other.
Image is from wikimedia commons of otter, osprey and salmon.