Home from Monday

When, a little distance past your heaviest thoughts,
on the dim way home from Monday, in the woods,
a raccoon-shape comes across the path in a scurry,
and then, hearing footsteps, sprints back to the dark,
but holds her ground there, still gleaming at you,
with those reflective eyes, another living thing
bent into a question mark, not knowing your intent,
and three cubs, chittering, blow their cover,
perhaps like me, you feel inexplicable
tears welling, a smile you can’t help, tenderness,
being glad, I guess, that this once,
you’ve met a stranger you can read,
more, that this time the question is misplaced,
that animal fear isn’t needed here,
and after you pass, she will unbend
into the regular punctuation, the everyday
exclamation of her unseen, earnest being,
that it will be okay, though she doesn’t know it yet.

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