Do Otters Wonder What the Future Holds?

otter_love____by_seb_photos-d5i3x28.jpgTasked by NaPoWriMo with writing inspired by a fortune cookie, I delved into an online repository of those aphorisms and found this implausibly long, but entirely appropriate fortune – “Hidden in a valley beside an open stream- This will be the type of place where you will find your dream.” It really does sound like it was written with otters in mind, doesn’t it?

It reminded me of a story my lovely friend Lil told me. She was walking her dog on the banks of the Tyne river behind her house, when she saw an otter floating on its back in the water, for all the world looking like it was daydreaming. Lil was convinced she was imagining her future mate and family, and behold! some months later she saw the otter again, this time playing with two pups. They were on the opposite bank, and had found a red ball, which they were rolling to one another. So this is a poem for Lilly’s Dreaming Otter.

she dandles herself in the current

with her drowsy webfoot flutter

all whiskery contentment

she is as sweet as doing nothing

upriver and down, fishing and floating

balance in her belly and her heart


she watches the wind sift the sky

into its several selves

nested clouds, ribbons, tufts

some dark enough to cry themselves

back into the ever-slippery sheets

of her water-bed, this river

where she is dreaming up

a spry dog to share it

a glinty rogue, a playmate


they will make a home

where the river bank is scalloped

with beaches of pelt-brown sand

they will make pups, a proper romp

nose to tail to nose to tail

they will make a carousel of love


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