What raccoons taught me

My husband is always speculating on the future –

how he will someday run his own business,

because he is cut out for management

Sometimes I nod and mutter agreement as he goes on about his goals

But tonight, the odor of the rotting raccoon carcass is too distracting

The first night, he was accompanied by a smaller,

perhaps female, body, still in the road, fresh from the kill – unexpected strike of an SUV

The next night, a kind soul had drug their pelts to the shoulder, placing them side by side.


My husband holds back a branch so I can walk by safely and surely, because carrying this

extra weight out front throws off my balance.

We walk every other evening to stave off the excess weight of pregnancy, to keep me and

baby healthy. Two point two miles, up a few hills, and past the same raccoon grave.


After a week, one of the bodies disappeared and one remained.

After two weeks, the smell went away as his form began to assimilate with the earth,

sinking deeper, becoming skeletal and as we walk by, husband holding branch and

my lopsided body maneuvering the uneven sidewalk, I cannot help but feel embraced

by the irony of the situation; that we walk past the dead each night as we nurture the

living, striving to improve our living condition and pass on our health to the next in line.


Last night we didn’t even look in the grass, for we knew it was still there.

It has not ceased to be raccoon but it didn’t make me sad anymore; that

he is dead and someday so will we all be, even my son, who has not yet been born.

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