They’ve bolted from their cover
in patchy trees, lots claimed by developers,
to shelter beside my leafless hedge—
five bony refugees of our suburb,
fleeing the woods where grain is bait
and official sharpshooters hide.
Their ears twitch in my direction
but I can’t feed them. More and more
would come, an Africa in my backyard.
Nights, I see them passing, wraithlike,
ripping at bark, balancing on hind legs
to nibble from bird feeders,
pausing, first one, then the others,
to look toward the house, as if to ask
can’t anything be done?
Judith Slater has poems published or forthcoming
in Prairie Schooner, Rattle, Poet Lore,
and Ted Kooser’s website American Life in Poetry.
She lives in Buffalo, where she is a psychologist in private practice.