An armadillo flounders in the blue water, trying to find
some purchase in the soil with his cloven hoofs, pointed toes.
He snorts in desperation as what seems to be the ground
turns out to be yet another passing fish, and irritated by his flailing
the fish never stay underneath long enough for the armadillo
to convince them to give him a ride back to shore.
If you were in a passing boat, you might think the armadillo was actually
some sort of turtle, some rare species with catfish whiskers
an elongated head. On closer inspection, you would find
that the armadillo wasn't actually swimming, but merely being kept afloat
by air trapped beneath his hard shell, that at any minute he could overturn
be held upside down in the water by the very forces keeping him from drowning now.
Overhead, jets draw great, white lines across the sky, too far above him
to do the armadillo any good. He swallows water again and again,
fresh, clean water, but still too much of it. Waterbirds lands in the shallows
just out of reach, watch him curiously, wondering if perhaps
it's they that are the ones out of place and not
the armadillo—a spotted ibis briefly tries to run across the surface
of the water, as if concerned that its flock, confused by the light
distracted by passing planes, has accidentally landed
in the parking lot by the lake, and not the lake itself.