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Contributor: Ruth Z Deming

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My sister’s new house
sits on a busy street in Jersey.
At all hours cars, trucks, and
motorcycles fly by.
I’ll show you, she says,
as we walk on the shoulder
our backs to the killing vehicles
and with a stick she pokes what used
to be a mother, a lover of the
garbage can, there to find scraps
of honey-glazed ham, barbequed
ribs, orange rinds, potato peels
thin as the new moon.

Where’s mama now, wonders her family.

She’s here on the side of the road
the better part of her eaten by
vultures that roost like witches
in black hats on neighboring trees.

All that’s left is her DNA, for
scientists to explore
the bottom row of her grinning
pointed teeth – as Donna pokes further
and mumbles, “Her claws.”

Five tiny fingers, small as
baby David’s, but with a deadly
clutch, lie peacefully on the
road. Donna and I look
at one another
thinking the same thing. We
outlived Daddy but wonder
when we, too, will be removed
from the earth.

Rest in peace, mama raccoon,
our days are numbered
like yours.

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Ruth Z Deming has had her poetry published in Mad Swirl, River Poets and Eunoia Review. She lives in Willow Grove, a suburb of Philadelphia.


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