The mating dance of otters

In college, I quit kapa haka
because I hated having to take my shirt off to perform.
God had sown across my chest a sprinkling of cursed seedlings
and soon I beheld, with horror, the blossoming of my furry fate. Auē.

Over countless years I’ve paid countless dollars to have countless hairs
plucked trimmed shaved waxed lasered;
a fruitless effort to stave off a pre-destined decline
into full-blown otterdom.

And so I surrender my skin to its natural metamorphosis
and join hands with my spraint-scented brothers
diving twisting tumbling cork-screwing lunging;
“Now I’m hairy and smelly too, e hoa mā.”

Yet through the mist of our maturing pheromones come
hunters, boys who notch their poles proudly when they slay
us, and from our fuzzy pelts fashion pretty robes
to keep them warm at their high-paying corporate jobs.

“Fuck your chest hair is 🥵.
Would love to bury my face in it.”
“That’s an epic mo, dude.
Does it tickle? 😉”

To this day I still find myself instinctively gravitating
towards baggy t-shirts with longer sleeves
but I’m coming to realise that “decline” can be reframed as “ascension”
if you lay your head at the other end of the bed.

So everyday, I challenge myself to bare a little more chest
and plant a little more conviction behind my waiata
because it’s the age of the otter, e hoa mā
and the boys now call us “Daddy”.

Featured photo by mana5280 on Unsplash.


In a dream, you saw a way to survive, and you were filled with joy.


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