A raccoon squashed on the New York State Thruway, going west.
It’s bright pink against black asphalt.
Everyone is trying not to run over it again,
Swerving even, to miss it.
Today the raccoon.
Yesterday the cat, dog, squirrel, skunk, opossum, deer.
Endlessly crossing the highway while we try to get somewhere.
Who’s fault really?
There are always more animals.
I heard once that the reason so many skunks lose their lives on the road is because
They have no natural predators.
They start crossing, see a monstrous growling metal animal hurtling toward them,
And they simply stop, turn around, stick up their tails, and aim.
We avoid the messes.
It’s a fact of life for the animals.
What’s one more cat, dog, squirrel, skunk, opossum, deer?
Yet, there’s keening and confusion in the dens and nests.
Junior had only wanted to see what was on the other side.
It was his time to leave the soft needle-lined safety of home.
While we drive around the mess of his mother’s brother,
Eyes closed momentarily to the bright pink death,
Wondering whose job it is to clean that up.