His body glides silently beneath brackish water
Deep nostrils barely break the water's surface,
Leaving his snout camouflaged by roots and leaves of water plants
Floating in the murky water as he seeks the air above,
He senses my presence at the edge of his sanctuary
He stills himself with the wisdom of an ancient hunter
And his steely black eyes observe me with sudden wariness
Does he know that I know he is there? I think he does
Who am I? What am I to him?
Am I a feared predator and a dreaded enemy?
Am I food to satisfy his hunger?
Or am I merely a brief curiosity?
He studies me curiously yet cautiously
I stare back at him in return
I do not imagine shiny shoes and purses
I do not picture skewers of his fried flesh
I envision dark skin, sinews, speed, power, and grace
A prehistoric creature who has traveled through time
I look more carefully into his watchful eyes –
Dark orbs that reflect a history that cannot be spoken
We study each other a moment longer,
He in the water and I on the sun-bleached dock
A child of the water and a child of the land
We have seen enough through our uneasy trust
In an instant he slips deeper into the dark brown water
And silently bears his history away