Water Shrew as the Apostle Peter
William Kelley Woolfitt
The water shrew finds jetsam in his feeding pool
and larva-sized nubs of busted glass
in the leaf-litter. On the lip of the creek,
an old tin can that the shrew nudges
with his whiskery nose, that he frees
from the sedges and live-forever weeds.
Rusted to razor-lace, fine as a riffleshell.
The can holds little of the creek,
its indelible minerals, smorgasbord of debris.
What it holds—decaying vegetation,
a little silt—spills when the shrew jostles it.
Crepuscular in his habits, gracile
in his body when he dives
for the flatworm that he may
or may not find. Sheathed in air-bubbles,
the shrew rises from the region of muck,
the compromised waters, and eyes the can
as it drifts, as the current has its way with it,
fragile craft. When caddisflies brush
the waters of his pool, the shrew catches
bubbles in his toe-hairs—picture
pearly slippers, two pairs—then runs
the creek’s surface, zags across the sheen.