When the dominant male in a river
gets a whiff of a female’s urine,
he knows it’s time to mate.
They open their mouths wider
than seems possible,
to bellow their vows of love.
Their nostrils emit twin geysers
before diving down under water
to bind their knot.
Their knot is not always what it appears to be—
it’s a tangle that can become undone—
when the complaints of these lovers
cannot be resolved.
Hippos get hurt feelings too,
due to the twists and turns of words.
One swims away in tears that never end.
It’s a knot that leaves a permanent scar
with the stench of skunk filling the air,
until another lover appears downstream,
looking quite dapper.