With cautionary instinct, an opossum’s
out after dusk & rambles along on
cottony paws, her driving
hunger to feed her three kits who ride her
back as they travel beneath the slivered moon-
shadow to defy all the odds before dawn.
Once only seen: a porcupine “porcupined” (Ben
Franklin’s coinage) along the gravelly ditch
off Old Seminary Road leading into town,
deigning not to sling her quill
at my adolescent stumbling,
my moonlight stroll as I hiked to
the local cemetery in the autumn of ‘63.
A bilious-tempered raccoon, tycoon
terror of a hen house, met his end
at the end of my short-handled shovel,
one dull thud, & then his boiled-in-
skull grew into a second coming
as a schoolhouse lesson on mortality
with his bone-&-hollowed out aftermath
held high at the front of the class each semester
for the better part of thirty long years.
In Late October
On hands & knees,
a plastic bucket
all the wind-blown,
lying about while above,
in the tree’s topmost boughs,
a few tight-fisted fellows
are managing to barely
hang on, aware, I imagine
of the inevitable pain
that follows a parting
& what parting
actually will mean.
Firefly. Cricket. Two Elms.
Firefly flitting in a pint-size canning jar
& shadow dancing beside the boy’s
bed with its green-glowing, love-me-now
language eager for some answer to come from
the yard or along the creek bed from one or another
of those who might glimpse his fleeting love-message.
The boy in bed holds on tightly to childhood & doesn’t
know how to read the firefly’s language, the firefly
flickerings bouncing off his dresser, the wall &
his closet’s door on a sultry June night
while a bothersome cricket close by
in the bottom of a clothes closet,
keeps up a sour string of violin notes
in its rasping of misery, of loneliness.
The boy stares up at the firefly’s dancing
shadows on his ceiling while the two elms
beyond the bedroom’s dormer window stand
guard, seemingly ageless & unable to
grow weary of their place in his life.
More than three hundred of Terry Savoie’s poems have been published in literary journals over the past three decades. These include The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Black Warrior Review, Prairie Schooner, Great River Review, The Iowa Review and North American Review as well as recent or forthcoming issues of Tiferet, Tar River, Ascent, Borderlands, Poem, Spillway, North Dakota Quarterly, Clover, and America among others.