Nutria Spotting on Bayou St. John
Some people sit in the just-past-twilight
as the sun goes down and refracts gold through the waves
and reflects on everyone’s faces and on the dogs’ fur
and on Cabrini and on the little fish that jump out of the water
every so often, scaring and exciting the dogs
that scamper to the edge so daringly
as their owners walk them along the bayou path.
The people sit in folding chairs and on blankets,
watching for the nutria rats,
who clamber up on the angled shores,
their long orange teeth glowing in the light of the sunset,
their fur matted to their ovoid bodies,
their tails dragging through the clover, rushes, and mud.
The watchers examine the nutria,
cataloguing the creatures’ horrors,
clenching their stomach muscles to help keep still,
leaning forward—fascinated, repulsed—
sipping their Abitas to refresh their tongues,
which were drying out from their lips being parted for so long.