Poem of the Month
Dead Raccoon on the Highway

By Clementine Morrigan

Published on April 2, 2018

I sit next to him on a park bench on a cool summer day. His smile is beautiful. He tells me I am gorgeous. I take the compliment, wrap it up and put it in my bra, the place that is closest to my heart. So, I am gorgeous. I have succeeded at the task of being beautiful. I have made myself desirable and I am pleased. My heart is still beating, beaten and the sounds of shimmering sentences fill the space between silences. I am trying to stay in this moment. I am kissing a man who I described to my friend as too sexy for his own good. And that is good, it’s good, it’s good. I will remember this later. I will lie in my bed alone and try to relive the desire. I will conjure it up like a ghost and I will make pathetic love to it.

There is a dead raccoon on the highway. Flies eating at its rotting corpse. A beautiful creature laid to waste from daring to risk movement from one place to another. Crossing the land cut to pieces by roadways. Animals killed by families in cars going on a trip to the cottage. The raccoon runs across the highway in frozen time. Struck. Killed. I don’t know why this comes to mind but I see the gathering flies and the raccoon now dead on the highway. I see the yellow lines painted like stiches. I see the impression of a tire flattening the animal’s middle. My body is not a dead raccoon. My body is not roadkill. I am a human being having a human experience. It has nothing to do with an animal’s life senselessly cut short on the highway.

The sunlight and shade mingle on his face. He is eager, coaxing me with promises of pleasure held subtly in the way he says his words. I am barely here. My hands touch his skin trying to feel the softness. This is better than nothing. It is better that I still try to feel something, even if the feeling is fleeting. It’s a little nourishment. I have felt nothing for so long. His smile remains beautiful, my heart remains beaten, ghosts remain ghosts and I still try. I lean over; admire the mole on his neck, the stubble on his face, the exact shade of his hair and his green brown eyes. He certainly is too sexy for his own good. My enjoyment is like a dancing skeleton, a spectacular spectacle, a spectre. Nothing at all.

More Poetry

The Tale of Dark-Face Sze

On a hot day in Yongchun, a girl is sent out to collect bitter leaves for dinner, and in her chore, is suddenly graced divine. Already blurred from the sun, the mutation is taxing and she discovers that apotheosis involves a lot of sweat.

Nursery Rhyme for Big Brother

Palace flags and shoot-to-kill orders,
cardboard tanks and well-lit borders,
dungeons and lice, grenades and books,
photos retouched and high-kicking boots,

36

It all has to fit into twelve lines—a lesser sonnet— all that’s depicted at every instant inside the ...