Monday, January 30, 2012

5 Raccoon, 3 Skunk, 2 Deer, 2 Cats, 1 Dog and an Opossum

5 Raccoon, 3 Skunk, 2 Deer, 2 Cats, 1 Dog and an Opossum

This is tonight’s count
so far: I see them as I bore
through the colorless fog,
thick, porous, indifferent,
while this moon of ours
bleaches the water,
turning the waves into
acid-white milk—
the ghosts of
all this roadkill
follow me home.
Seized by headlights,
slammed from the side
before they could move,
they don’t understand
what has happened.
They have nowhere
to go, these tiny
spectral hitchhikers,
so they attach themselves
for the ride home.
I have used up both hands
counting as I pass by and
now I’m onto my toes
as I swim through the night.
I pull into my drive
and they scatter when
I open the door.
They rootle in the garbage
while I get ready for bed.
They pluck the wire
window screens
like harp strings
as I try to sleep.
I can barely see
their blood-rimmed eyes.
They crawl under the
house and dig at the
floorboards under my bed.
They want to be held.
They want comfort.
They are scared, confused.
Cool, wet fur brushes
against my cheek.
I can’t help them or
save the ones out there
who are about to join us.
I just draw them into me
like all my stuffed animals
when I was a child.
We lie in the dark
and silence, waiting for
all the drivers that sped
over them to crash into the
rest of the cars in the world,
waiting for the sound of
crushing steel and glass
rising up from the planet,
waiting for them all to
kill each other, waiting
for it all to make sense,
waiting for the end of the world.

©JEF 1999

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