This is what you need to know:
you need to know that otters wrap themselves
in seaweed so they won’t,

while sleeping at night, float out to sea…
Are you imagining this?
Can you see the otters actually doing this?

Does it break your heart a little?
Does it seduce you just a bit
into loving more

this odd hard world?
Oh otters, wrap yourselves tight! And sleep,
exactly like you do, floating but seaweed-held

in our salty living waters! Oh otters,
wrap yourselves tight! And you,
the one who doesn’t, the one who doesn’t

tether himself down right,
we are with you as you float away,
we are with you as you sleep

and lose yourself in the night.


Posted by kind permission of the poet. This poem first appeared in Orion Magazine.