“Self-Portrait as a Raccoon” by Noel Sloboda

Noel Sloboda


It would be the same
without this mask:
nobody would be glad

to see me naked, slicing open
bulging bags of garbage,
shoving my snout into rotten tree trunks

after sweet vermin within.
It would be the same—
my icy eyes piercing

the gloaming, only to be
melted away by the fires
of dawn. Every time

I look ahead, I see myself
splashed across some roadside
or starved while I remain

caught in a steel trap,
always dying too young
to go completely grey.

So I leave my face
swathed in darkness
that is not sleep.

from Rattle #38, Winter 2012
Tribute to Speculative Poetry

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