Hunger Mountain - Vermont College Journal of the arts

River Otters

for Ms. Kelly

by Michael David Madonick

My wife does not believe me, in fact
she has started to mock me, to register

in her discourse and demeanor a kind of
flippant disregard for my sincerity. I suppose

if I were Darwin just back from the Galapagos,
or Audubon with dripping carcasses of spoon

bills and egrets, she’d offer me some credence.
But as it is, here in the sad flatlands, where the last

evidence of wilderness was a misguided ground
squirrel that inadvertently nested high in our sugar maple,

she cannot concede to my numerous sightings
of otters. I’ve told her, that I’ve spotted them

by the drainage ditch, crossing the culvert, that
they’re as big as German Shepherds, sleek as seals,

hunch-backed and quick. She wants to know
if they talk, if they speak some Midwestern tongue,

if I’ve given them golf lessons, taken them to La Fiesta
the Mexican restaurant I’m so clearly fond of, and

when I’m late to get home, if a whole caravan of river
otters set the rail crossing to flash and barricade the road.

I’m thinking, even Isabella only denied Columbus for a year.
But at this point, there’s no convincing her– and even though

I know the world is round, there’s no harm in letting it be
flat. It’s not unlike my love for her, she can’t see it the way

I do, how it plays in the waters and out, in every natural and
unnatural vision I embrace.

Read “Jungle” by Michael Madonick

Visit with Michael Madonick

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Tamsin December 8, 2012 at 8:06 pm

This reminds me of the time when someone in the family (can’t recall who for sure) claimed they saw a camel. Seeing that it was just outside Bloomington, Indiana, you can imagine the skepticism. However, taking another, slower pass down the road to Nashville, there it was. We even got pictures. Now I want to see the otters.


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