Thomas Devaney


Detail from mural by Evan Lovett soft pretzel raccoon

I didn’t know the strength of a city raccoon,
which busted out through my chest,
escaped down the side street.
Wild eyes of the raccoon’s lightning,
lighting up reflectors from here
to Water Street.
A raccoon uses the full weight of its body
to get what it wants.    Something
in me, some immediate want.
Unburdened by one weight, lit
by another.    Cravings
in the headlights.          On the night
in question, I was a wretch along
railroad tracks, a bulky brown sofa dumped
without its cushions.
Christ and a mouth-thirst, all my Jersey devils.

With every trashcan lid it flips off the raccoon
feels more itself.
Prophets and raccoons share
a single ritual: they wash their food.
The row homes sleeping.
The row homes counting their bricks.
Every night raccoons follow the same path,
they don’t go far.
Cellophane wrappers coil in the crabgrass,
dogs down by the river, trails of cinders,
piles of gravel, lines not marked but closely kept.
Reflectors everywhere —
sneakers, bicycle parts, a STOP sign in a pile of junk in
someone’s shared alley space; and rows of painted poles
in the vibrant dark. Poles of concrete sunk into
the sidewalks so no one can park there.

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