The Raccoon

On these slow nights when the moon rests her chin

on a pink shelf of clouds,

I watch the raccoon lumber up the back steps,

making his neighborhood rounds.

His earth-colored eyes fixed on the cat's bowl,

he bristles with attainable goals.

Over a dark winter and cold spring, he's grown fat,

his tail's blossomed into a splendid bush.

No one has ever contested his right to dominion.

No one has ever not left him alone,

and yet he always stops and stares

as if expecting I'll speak sharply or raise a hand.

There will be no contest here.

I back off, chain the door, return to my kitchen.

We are all seekers, deserving some

time alone with the last crumbs and stars.

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