Bio Note: I began writing poetry two years ago when the pandemic necessitated my stepping away from my job to stay home with my now toddler son. I formerly taught high school English Language Arts at international schools in Honduras, Ecuador, and Panama, and though I currently reside in the United States, I have lived in Latin America for the majority of my life. My poetry has recently been featured in Rattle's Poets Respond section, Beyond Words Literary Magazine, and The Scapegoat Review (upcoming Spring Publication).
Paddleboarding in the Tetons
I am standing on the face of the sky reflected in Jackson Lake. Its clouds vibrate beneath me, and I dig my toes into the board for balance, as we glide—dip the paddle on the right, now on the left— following the lakeshore, my cross-legged children before me. Their jabber tumbles through the curtain of solitude, and covers the murmurs of water and wind, when three river otters, a mother with two pups, waddle from the thicket, bellies dragging down the dusty bank. The mother slices through the lake, and ripples skip from her body, infinitely outward. My children’s mouths form around bubbles of silence. They watch as one pup flops into the water, while the other chirrups for his momma. He leans towards her. Their noses kiss, and she wraps webbed paws around his neck, holding him to her heart, then tugs him in head first. He emerges baptized, freed from fear, flipping and spinning. My children each claim an otter as their own. My daughter, tall and bold, her grown-up smile sprouting through gums, wants to join them for a swim. My son rests against me. His cheeks quiver. He lisps questions, “How does the ottow just know how to swim, Momma?” The mother watches her young, and I watch my children. I see this moment, framed and hung in their mind museums, will remain long after childhood has rippled away.
©2022 Tamara Kreutz
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