You Are Afraid Of The Dark

By Kathryn Nuernberger

You are afraid of the dark,
for which you blame the raccoons,
or more to the point, your father,
who took you and your mother
into the night with a flashlight
and shotgun, then left
with both, while you held
her shaking hand. You
would follow your father
to the end of the world,
those distant birch woods
where raccoons rustle
and flash their green eyes.
His gun was firing
into the persimmon trees
and the rain of leaves and ripe fruit
fell farther and farther,
until only the crackle
of his shots and the distant baying
of the hounds could be heard.
The raccoons came then
to hiss all around:
he left you, he left you,
and now you are ours.

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