Otter

by Lizzie Knell

She smiles, smooth;
She knows it shines like fire
She knows she is all cheekbones
Like flint-stones –
Or the pebbles in her eyes;
Lashes curling round and round and round
Until she has no eyelids left
And all I see is gleam.

She knows she moves through the world
Like skimming-stones on my stream
Like oil on the biggest lake I’ve ever seen
She knows she could smile
And I would just stare for a while
At cutting-teeth like quartz
Until all I see is gleam.

And then the penny drops beneath the water tension
And she bobs back up
All wet fur and webbed feet
And I stop and stare at the rain –
Like I’ll float away –
Until all I see is gleam
And tiny cutting teeth.