R. Erica Doyle

The Well-Groomed Otter Is Extremely Buoyant

n this kind of sea, floating really matters.

The well-groomed otter is a tail above the others.


Her particular sheen, the curve of her brown,

the arch of her back, the clams that she cracks –


to be groomed is the key to survive in this sea.

She smooths each natty lump down, shines clean


as a glass, runs each hair and black toe

like a woman in the morning


takes hot iron, tweezes chin, tugs on the underwire

slips on the heels, to arch the calf, raise the rump higher;


with a sponge, blend the moonside of cheek,

line the eyes in black, sheen the lid in green


tailored brow.  Shirt smooth? Pants creased?

Panty lines gone? Cellulite? (Use a thong?)


Oiled smooth and sea-compliant

the well-groomed otter is extremely buoyant.