Posted by: Ron DuBour | April 24, 2018

“An Epitaph to Missing Friends…”~by Michael Graves



“An Epitaph to Missing Friends…”

Image may contain: table and outdoor

In the cold, late darkness
last night,
among the giant trees, I heard
(what sounded to my mind,
like) a raccoon crooning,
beneath a half-dark moon.

A sound as softly
sad as farewell, at the end
of the Earth.
And then it stopped…

I watched them grow from tiny things
smaller than a cat.
Five kittens batting
at the air with tiny hands,
at imaginary foes.
Fighting tiny battles.
Rolling on their backs and
chasing each other, in
the exuberant playfulness gifted only
to the very young.

Five of them, and their mother
eating peanuts that I had tossed
on the deck, behind
my house.
to get them to stay
for a while.

I wondered what you five would be like
after a winters growth.
How your tiny, masked
faces would change.
Wondered what you would become and how
your personalities would
Looking forward to watching you
playing in the warm summer night. Tag
out on the deck, among
the peanuts and the plants.

This morning on the asphalt road I saw,
three tiny bodies, and suddenly I knew
the source of what I’d heard.
A mother crying in the night.
Whether they were on the way
to or from
my house for food
who knows.

Killed in a flash, by a driver too
careless to watch the road.
Three babies
My friends.
Three tiny lights.
Snuffed out in a roaring flash.

I can hear the driver thinking
“Three raccoons. No one
will miss you.”

I will miss you.

–Graves 9/13/13


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