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Steven S. Walsky


A Raccoon Odyssey


The sky was starry
and the moon so bright
the tent inviting
after a day of fun and hikes.

So it was easy
for an eleven-year-old's eyes to close,
a restful sleep
hoping to unfold.

Then past midnight
in the dead of the night
awakened by a rustling
a sound not right.

Slowly my eyes adjusted to the dark
and thankfully
I did not
move with a start.

A raccoon was there munching
on Oreo cookies left out,
soon to use my face as a pillow,
so I did not shout 'get out'.

What seemed like hours
finally passed,
and the raccoon did amble
away at last.

Without even a thank you,
but who was I to complain,
I lost a few cookies,
but my face was the same.

(A Raccoon Odyssey, copyright Steven S. Walsky 2013, all rights reserved.)

Submitted: Thursday, September 12, 2013
Edited: Tuesday, February 11, 2014
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Poet's Notes about The Poem

Having spent endless hours in the woods behind my house, I was, at least in my mind, by eleven years old well aware of the haunts of nature; and of course I had that wonderful experience with a vicious squirrel, as I mentioned in the poem Squirrel Attack. I was especially well aware of the danger from raccoons. I saw firsthand on one too many occasions how a raccoon’s sharp claws dealt with a nosey dog; not to mention dreaded rabies. Thus, at eleven I knew I had to be careful when I went on my first Boy Scout camp out. However, I was eleven, and who listens to adults anyway.

We had a great day and it was time to say adios to the stars. Being tired from all that fun, it did not take long to fall asleep. Sometime after midnight I was woken by a rustling sound inside the tent. Being well versed in vampire and extra-terrestrial movies, I knew not to leap up. I slowly opened my eyes. And there in front of my face was the rear end of a raccoon; a big one.
The raccoon was apparently about to enjoy the Oreo cookies I had left out next to my sleeping area. With cookie in hand, the raccoon backed up and started using my face as a pillow. I knew not to move; as the last thing I wanted was for the obviously comfortable critter to swing around and rip my face open. Thankfully my breathing did scare — nor deter — the raccoon from its snack time; so I remained motionless for at least seventy-six hours…OK, about two minutes…until the varmint had its fill and waddled away.

I learned two things that night, don’t keep food in your tent, and raccoons do not say thank you when they eat your food.

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