The Otter
He lay on the last stair, skull split, 
a blood hat; legs twisted
like locked tree limbs—this was the wreck 
of him.  And there was she
with lamprey mouth and skin 
of stump warts—so that she moved 
through the house like a steel door
scraping open—it was this 
that made her spring feral, bury 
her claws in, leaving him 
biled and marrowed
beneath the mahogany armoire.
She would have devoured him then 
but she saw him cloaked in blackest feathers
and knew his beak would not pass
easily.  He would have walked 
from the tunnel of unconsciousness
and plunged his knobbly thumbs
into her eyes—he would have
made mole-holes of them
but for a dream of an otter
steaming on a cold beach, collapsing
a crab, clasping then dropping it
again.  Instead, she slid 
her knife along the seams of him, slipped
his blood-moist hide over her,
and when his hand-skin covered her hands,
when she breathed through his narrow
nose-holes, she understood 
she could love him.  The otter 
purring the naked crab into death.
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