I saw it through the steam from my first morning coffee
as I let the cat out the patio door.
A splash of ruddy red on the concrete,
as if a lipstick had melted there a few weeks ago
and the dried dust had been blown off in the wind
to leave behind only a ghostly echo of its color.
Beside this grisly stain, which surely was blood,
the discarded entrails of some unfortunate rodent
lay stretched out to dry in the morning sun,
presumably positioned by the raccoon whose
incriminating, bloody hand prints punctuated the scene
like the tag of a graffiti artist.
The world cries no sympathetic tears for the preyed-upon,
I learned from Marlin Perkins when I was small.
In the wild—which I now knew my back patio to be—
it is better to be the eater than the eaten.
I marvel now at the killer’s cruel efficiency:
No fur, no bits of bone or claw left to tell me
who had died here in the dark. Only
what appeared to be a stomach
and a long, trailing intestine,
but I am no expert in identifying rodent entrails,
despite being a trained Boy Scout leader.
These days, now that I’ve passed fifty years old
and I hear more about funerals than weddings or baby showers,
I seem besieged by reminders that life is fragile,
that the infinitesimal nanomoment of time we have
will end one day, and today could be that day.
And in time, the people who follow will know
as little of me as I know of the rodent
whose partial remains I slip into a plastic bag
and drop in the trash.
Poetry Month 2018
I’ve resolved a few times to write a poem a day during the month of April, and I actually succeeded once. I’m again trying it out. No idea what each day will bring. Some light verse, some politics, some “oh shit I didn’t write anything today” haikus. If you read one and feel moved to comment, please do. If you want to share your poetry, please share!
PS: Today’s poem prompt was provided by a raccoon