Carol Moldaw

The New York Review of Books - - Contents - —Carol Moldaw

On my way to wa­ter the straw­ber­ries at dusk—I gar­dened in those days—

I saw a rac­coon clasp­ing the out­door spigot like a sailor’s wheel, us­ing both paws, that seemed more and more like hands as it kept twist­ing un­til wa­ter gushed out of the cop­per noz­zle and it drank.

I hadn’t thought of it in years, not even after I saw an­other rac­coon, high-step­ping the coy­ote fence mid­day with a limp vole over­hang­ing its mouth. Such a sin­gu­lar sight, I had to tell you, and blurted it out as soon as I saw you, a piece of do­mes­tic gos­sip like the first cro­cus or noisy neigh­bors:

com­mon prop­erty, like so much in mar­riage— a small busi­ness, a friend called it, down to the cooked books. Only later, after I rec­og­nized the rac­coon saun­ter­ing through a line in one of your po­ems . . . only after the pres­sure cooker of my dis­plea­sure caused you to re­cast your rac­coon and vole as skunk and mole,

did I flash on the one I’d seen decades be­fore: its lack of furtive­ness, the air it had of be­ing within its rights, the way it took its time to re­trace its steps to turn the wa­ter off.

—Or did it am­ble on and let the wa­ter run?

No copy­right pro­tects idle talk, you might have said, or, The imag­i­nar­ium of mar­riage knows no bounds.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.