Sestina of a Dead Raccoon

January 12, 2009
By Megan Morfe, Baltimore, MD

Driving down that winding road
With the night in bright headlights,
Clammy hands clench one another.
Heater warms well: feet don’t freeze.
While wheels turn, tiny paws scamper.
When wheels stop, so do little feet.

Eyes widen with death, and feet
Halt. Black and white lies on road.
To safety, the bush-tail scampers
Out of sight, danger, and headlights.
Deep in our chests, our sorry hearts freeze.
We can do nothing but hold each other.

Driving again, afraid to hit another,
We pull to the street’s side where feet
Kiss soil and inspect the damage. Freezing,
Shivering, standing on side of the road,
We bathe in the bright, golden headlights,
My mind’s screw-sharp claws scamper

Back to the unfortunate scampering’s
Sorrow, difficult to bear without each other.
Sighs unleash, seat-belts click, headlights
Glow on. Under my body, I curl my frigid feet
Trying not to think of the blood-stained road.
Not only my body, but my heart, too, freezes.

And since that barely-beating heart is freezing,
My fingers nervously tap around and scamper
All over. Drive we must, and so we rode,
Avoiding contact, not looking at each other.
Heater fails and I shiver down to my feet.
I shake all over, my eyes dart like headlights.

On those bright black eyes, our headlights
Shone while the bush-tail was silently freezing.
I won’t drive again, instead I’ll use feet
To crawl along and dance around and scamper
Down to see him for something-or-another.
He’ll come too, only this time, no back roads.

On those back roads, our headlights couldn’t
Shine brightly enough to save scampering feet.
Maybe we’re freezing, but we have each other.

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