June 11, 2013

by Tammy Ramsey

Each night
against city ordinance
she serves up dinner.
The foxes prefer bread;
raccoons, peanuts.
Possum will eat anything
except cucumbers,
which will lie in the yard
untouched by any animal
until sun and decomposition
take them away.

She began counting in July,
keeping coded track
on the kitchen calendar:
MR+5B when the mama raccoon
arrived late pulling, like moons,
her five babies;
3F for the brother fox,
a new litter still traveling together;
1P+1P+1P for the three possum
who might really be just one
arriving over and over again.

For a time it was unclear how many —
at least three, she thought,
but maybe even four or five.
Then one night
six appeared at once,
her eye not quite registering at first
from behind the curtain’s edge
just how many there were.
She counted and recounted,
the six foxes playing like happy puppies.

She had wanted, just then,
a witness to turn to,
someone else to see what she saw,
but with no one else there,
she watched until they left,
then recorded: 6F

Download the MP3

Tammy Ramsey teaches English and journalism at Bluegrass Community and Technical College. Her poems have appeared in New Growth: Recent Kentucky Writings, The Louisville Review, and Kentucky’s Twelve Days of Christmas. She earned a master’s degree in English from the University of Kentucky and a master of fine arts in writing from Spalding University.

Categories: Animals in the City Tags:
  1. Greg Pape
    June 14, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    Wonderful poem, and a fine reading. Clearly observed details, fresh and well-paced language, and a lovely turn at the end. Thanks for publishing such good work.

  1. No trackbacks yet.
Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: