TWO COONS IN THE ROAD
Mimicking the racing moon
headlights freeing the striped road from darkness
turning corners like thoughts.
Two small Coons appear
on the sparkling center line:
One, stiff-legged, head down, arched,
willing me to halt. His companion
twisted to odd degrees with himself.
My wife, myself, the coons
Slapped senseless by a callous
hit and run.
My wife screams---
“Oh no, oh no, oh no, it’s too sad!”
We are helpless against empathic pain.
Without gun or stick or iron rod,
to end his hurt. I block
the lane with my car, spectators
of a ghastly ballet. Several cars
approach and pass, the struggles
his suffering earns-- a glance if that.
I dial the SPCA,
“I’ll come when I can” the switchboard voice
has pets to save.
“He’s dead,” my wife says
and he is still. We sigh together
and relax, but he writhes again
snapping at his ruined legs
like they were ravening dogs
Foam fleck and blood spray
I leave the car and squat
beside him, offer what comfort
I can. The flat gaze
of eyes, already dulled
is falling into his dying.
Honor guard and witness
are the best I can invent
steeling my heart to stay present
till he gasps his way
across the line dividing
this world from the next. Two days
before my 65th birthday--
moving his body off the road--
I cannot dodge the oncoming
leveling force that insists
we share the shadow of fate
all creatures, seeking comfort and solace
in the stares of passers by.
for Bodhi, my cat,
who died on the road this day, a year ago.
Causes Peter Coyote Supports
The Global Security Institute, Native Sovereignty Issues, Wild Earth( Natural Corridors Program),