At the Chippewa Nature Reserve ~ Jeffrey Bean


By the front desk at the visitor center

encased in glass there is a river otter,

stuffed, that my one-year-old daughter

knows how to talk to.  She kneels there,

hands pressed to the glass, and the otter

listens to her handful of syllables.  I want her

to be asking the otter, “who brought your

face back to life, how do you look forever

up at lights like that?”  But she can’t say “er”

or any sound with “r,” and she doesn’t wonder

what I like to think she wonders.  The otter

and she understand each other,

they both look up as I say their names, their

mouths opening, right on the verge of words.