laura ferrario

Facing the Elements

laura ferrario
 

The trap looks more like a doggie cage
than a device for capturing wild animals.
Yet we got us a raccoon, not bad for a first try.

To explain, we're no bounty hunters.
But he'd burrowed under the house,
clawing toward the heat,
with mounds of muck and mischief in his wake.

Poor thing, he now huddles in a corner
pelted with unexpected rain,
the grass under the cage a bog
dug by his frantic effort to escape.

I drape an umbrella over the top
waiting for it to stop
all the while knowing
his instincts will cost us thousands.
Self-protection is species-neutral.

It takes two to hoist the cage into the trunk
for a Sunday ride in the country.
We pray we won't be seen
from houses fringing the forest
encroaching his habitat,
sending him to ours.

We find an alcove,
a hidden spot covered with trees,
away from the highway or even a road.
And we stop.

He may have sensed our intent
or maybe smelled his kinfolk
in our leather gloved hands,
because he is now aggressive.

And when the cage lands with a bounce,
he hisses and tries to bite,
striking at us with remarkably long claws.

Yet when the hatch opens
he backs out and seeing freedom
streaks across the open space
toward refuge in the underbrush
where he belongs.