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The Raccoon

On these slow nights when the moon rests her chin

on a pink shelf of clouds,

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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.

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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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