Out on the evening waves, a raft of sea otters bobs in placid sleep, all as one with the rise and fall of the ocean’s breath. At least one of them grips an anchor line provided by the sea’s kelp bed. Papas, mamas, pups and all link their forepaws in a touching ritual of purring familial harmony and trust. Inland, the barges bob to the river’s pulse, but placidity is not in their genes. Hard hulls of steel and rust link to shore and weave one to another with lines of twisted steel. Their touching ritual sounds of clanks, scrapes and a harsh cursing hymn of riparian fraternal harmony and trust. All of them, otters and barges alike, rest linked together upon that most maternal yet unforgiving of elements. Her lullaby floating above the waves long before these children tasted of her, felt her caress, and will long after they’ve run their own courses in this ever-repeating circle dance of harmony, trust and rust.
This prose poem was inspired by the photograph above captured by (and copyright) my fellow river artist, the brilliant Diana Matisz. The linking of those barges to sea otters? That inspiration evades even the poet’s net.