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An Otter
Christmas day, 4 o’ clock,
Stumps of cloud, like yellowing tower blocks,
Lean over
The failing glimmer of Christmas lights
And the quays, that are utterly empty,

Except

For one dark otter, slick with river slime,

A shape

Made of dark Lee water,
Of thick fluid,
Of rippling muscle,

Swaggering, like any pedestrian,
Up the steps from the dry riverbed,
Across the silent street,
Past dim shop displays, shuttered windows,

Toward a car parked skew on the footpath,
Its engine idling, its front door open,
Its headlights ploughing the gloom,

And a girl, its solo driver,
Standing alone on the pavement.

She is innocent, beautiful.
She leans over the otter.
Her long hair hangs down

As a second slinks up the steps from the riverbed,
Like a hand sliding slowly
From a hip to a breast.