Selection from “The Green Condition”
The word “raccoon” was adopted from the native Powhatan term, arathkone or, alternately, aroughcun, or from Algonquin ahrah-koon-em: one who rubs, scrubs and scratches with its hands.
In a crib alone as a baby. Father was working and mother went out.
She can’t walk anyway.
In the hardened state it must be strong enough to handle the forces of casting.
Except I fell out once. Ten stitches and two damaged legs.
The baby’s tiny fist.
A herdsman named Faustulus found them in the wolf’s den, in Lupercal cave. He took them home and raised them as shepherds at the foot of Palatine Hill.
I don’t know anyone who wants kids who doesn’t already have them.
It gets into everything. It tips over the garbage can every couple of days. I say “it,” though there could be more than one.
Animal control wants nothing to do with me.
Call if you trap it, the man says.
Elizabeth J. Colen has lived in three dozen different houses in seven different states. She is the author of poetry collections Money for Sunsets (Steel Toe Books, 2010; finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in 2011) and Waiting Up for the End of the World: Conspiracies (Jaded Ibis Press, 2012), as well as flash fiction collection Dear Mother Monster, Dear Daughter Mistake (Rose Metal Press, 2011), and the hybrid long poem / lyric essay The Green Condition (Ricochet Editions, 2014).
Mary Stone Dockery is the author of One Last Cigarette, a poetry collection, and the chapbooks Blink Finch and The Dopamine Letters. Her poetry and prose has appeared inStirring: A Literary Collection, Gutter Eloquence, Arts & Letters, Redactions, and others. She earned her MFA from the University of Kansas in 2012. Currently, she lives and writes in St. Joseph, MO, where she teaches English at Missouri Western State University and coordinates the First Thursdays Open Mic at Norty’s Bar and Grill.