Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Not a Raccoon but the Shadow of a Raccoon

Not a Raccoon but the Shadow of a Raccoon

How many things in existence cast a shadow.
Ninety percent, or forty. Or eleven percent.
Four. Four out of every one hundred items
get noticed. How many times do we look
for a thing that is there, we know we left it
on the table or in a pocket, and it is gone.
We perceive only so much. It becomes night.
Suddenly, though it has been happening all day.

What is the purpose for our ability to overlook.
Who was at that party, I ask you after, and we list
different names, only a few overlapping. We see people
who aren’t there. Our eyes graze the ones who are
and fit them with alternate profiles.

The dead raccoon at the side of the highway
exit ramp, cheek against pavement.
I stared at him every day last week, wincing
at his small, calm face on the blacktop.
I invent the story of how he came here,
to the shock of his own ending,
how the cars and the noise withdrew from him.
This week, he's still there, but I stop seeing him,
not a raccoon but the shadow of a raccoon.


  1. Very profound and beautifully expressed. I shall come back to read this again.

  2. Hannah, there is so much to love in this one! What truth about what we see and don't see. Roadkill means something different to me now. Thank you.

  3. Your last stanza is a poem itself. It stands on its own.

  4. excellent thought provoking on why we overlook, I guess the answer would be to avoid our heads exploding from too much stuff,

    your roadkill raccon reminded me of a roadkill fox i saw last year, which disappeared after a day, or maybe it was still there and I just didn't see it anymore?

  5. yup, sometimes I see dead raccoons at people gatherings, I wonder wow, they are still here...how long before they disintegrate and they never do but get replaced with new dead ones....now, I never saw a dead raccoon but boy did I ever see dead possums every single day for four years...frightening

    Have a lovely Tuesday Hannah! xo


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