Excerpts from “Let No Day Dawn That The Animals Cannot Share” by Kristine M Smith

GABRIEL RACCOON
He’s a full-time quarterback
Reaching ahead while looking out
Over the Entire field
As if two separate consciousnesses
Exist behind that very apt black mask.

He loves flowers, you know
Quite as much as you and I, only
He’s never content to merely watch them; oh,
no…
He must pick them, or climb them
(If they’re of sturdy character)
And he must bring them to the back porch
And present them, with gentle chirrs,
To a fellow flower child.
(Of what benefit is happiness if it cannot be
shared?)

No lover of etiquette,
He unloads garbage cans of their bounty
And then sits back, content.

More often than not, he’s engaged in some
activity
You wish he wasn’t;
But he’s free, and you mustn’t impose
Your human limits on his lifestyle,
His joie de vivre.

You recall why you named him Gabriel:
You hoped he’d be an angel.
Ahem. Oh, well. His name is a clever joke.

But then again…perhaps he IS an angel.
Can anyone conceive of a heaven
Without a fulltime quarterback who loves
flowers?

LEOPARD

Spotted thunderbolt, whose coat drives men
and women to madness
Whose stealth and silence can unnerve
war-hardened generals
Your god has made you thus for quite
good reasons,
And why we take it upon ourselves
to rid the world of you
For the sake of fashion or of fear
Is unknown to this asker of reasons.
Spotted thunderbolt…I apologize.

MEMORY OF A TIGER CUB

The tiger cub winds itself around my legs
And chuffs in contentment, flopping onto the
floor
As we sit, pretending to be quite unruffled
By the incident. We are all professionals here,
And should expect to be buffeted by tiny
tiger paws
From time to time.
I try to act normally, but inside
I am dying with
Excitement, thrilled by the cub, loving the cub
Who now sleeps soundly atop my shoes.
Someday she will weigh three times more
than me.
And will she remember the night she slept
Soundly atop my shoes?
I know I will.

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