torn paper collage of two otters with their heads out of the water

Portrait of My Teacher as an Otter

~for Le Hinton

He extends his paw on the water like an otter while we sleep knowing we could drift apart in this murky sea we say is home. He drew me to this raft to keep me safe, anchor me in spring green seaweed swaying its sway in forests of kelp. I’d never known what buoyant meant before we met. Do you know I’ve seen him flip seafloor boulders, crack clams with rocks to feed me, sneak my secrets under the crevice of his arm for safekeeping? He hears words I never say, closes his eyes to nightfall, and lets me drift upstream with his quiet. There is nowhere better to quell my noise than in profound currents of his peace. I promise you’ll see his pulsing heart pushing through thick fur if you float in his wake. I swear there’s nectar in his veins. He’ll let you share it, even when you’re afraid to ask. There are days he deep dives in this ocean, disappears, convinced it’s my turn to bask in the sun. But then dark winds churn the water, grip my shoulders, so I call him back because of this one truth: light is only light when he’s beside me.   

Dana Kinsey has a BA in English and an MA in Theater from Villanova University. She is a poet, actor, freelance writer, fine-arts teacher, and theater director. Her poetry and prose have been published by several national and international literary journals, including On the Sea Wall, Sledgehammer Lit, West Trestle Review, ONE ART, and Prose Online, among others. Her poetry chapbook Mixtape Venus was published in 2022 from I. Giraffe Press.

Amy Marques grew up between languages and cultures and learned, from an early age, the multiplicity of narratives. She penned three children’s books, barely read medical papers, and numerous letters before turning to short fiction and visual poetry. She has work published most recently in Streetcake Magazine, MoonPark Review, Bending Genres, Gone Lawn, and Jellyfish Review, among others.  amybookwhisperer.wordpress.com

See more of Amy's work in 10.1 and 10.3

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