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.