Rough — A Deadly Stretch of Spring
Four bodies lie within the space of four breaths, between Rue Chamonix and Rue Jardin along the country boundary line. A raccoon, a squirrel, a possum and a rabbit.
The raccoon is ungainly in death as in life, a hulking mass curled in upon itself, an end-quote mark to its shambling existence. The hobos of the forest, no gentlemen robbers despite the masks, he lies like a hillock at the roadside. No members of his tribe lie alongside him, as is too often the case; mates and young coming to pay their respects struck down in their weeping-weed furs, but this one lies alone, unknown, never to return.
The squirrel is an afterthought, cast flat by a Fiat or Ford, all but unnoticed – as common as leaves in the autumn, the color of bark and asphalt, splayed like a skydiver miles above the mulching ground. This is the tiniest of bodies and the least striking, but still, the second along the stretch that I drive.
The possum bares his delicate diamond-teeth to the sky, defiant to the last, snapping at the sun as it passes overhead. They seem so small, so pointless; and yet I know they’d tear the world to shreds given half a chance, tear time and light to tiny pieces and scatter them across the road.
The rabbit’s a surprise, bright white fur against the dirty snow-remnants, along a ditch-side the warmth and sun have yet to discover. He lies at full length, leaping, kicking his heels to escape the oncoming inevitable end.
It’s he who surprises me, who makes me realize just how much death I’ve seen on this little stretch of road, how little attention people have paid to the world around them behind the wheels of their red-rimmed machines. It’s he who makes me switch off the telephones, turn down the music, put both hands in their proper place and ease off the gas. Each little body is a prayer flag to caution and care, fur fluttering against the deadly breeze of spring.
Comments are closed.