by Thomas Davis
I lay beside an ancient, quiet pool
and put my idle hand into the water.
A rainbow trout swam nibbling past.
Without a thought I held its thrashing fast.
The trout became a whiskery, wily otter.
I squeezed as if I’d turned into a ghoul
whose only thought was how to hold
an otter in my thrall forevermore.
The otter twisted like a fiend,
and when that failed, it bared sharp teeth and screamed.
My spirit quailed and heart turned icy cold.
Between two breaths the eagle was a child.
He looked at me and slowly, sadly smiled.
I dropped her when her human voice began to sing.
I looked into the shine of golden eyes;
the child became a woman beautiful and wise.
The woman turned and swiftly swam away.
I jumped into the pool, but she was gone —
And now I’ve spent these many years
bedazzled by an otter with a woman’s face,
Ensorcelled by a quiet water place.