by Joseph Baldwin

Raccoons live in the storm sewer — this I believe
since seeing a great rat-rump near the entrance;
the whole beast almost swallowed by that concrete mouth,
suddenly a clown face flashed at me over a shoulder:
one look, then gone. Not a rat, after all!
I was reassured, for I had been all ice with the thought:
If the rats around here are this big, I’m moving!
Apprehension gone; comfort given — by a raccoon!

Life in a sewer? — or do they live in trees and only
hunt in sewers?
What is the way of raccoons, in a city,
confronting asphalt, concrete, human noise and detritus,
ears nature tuned to owls here assaulted by sirens and

Which of us, then, is the intruder?

And what did that one, for instance, think
of the sudden clown face I showed him?