Raccoons in the Attic
by Ann E. Wallace

When Abby was four, or maybe five, she suggested
we create a raccoon sanctuary in the attic,

so raccoons on the street would know to come in
and be safe, but of course the raccoons on the street,

and in the garden, and on the cliff side, already knew
to shimmy up the side of the house, to the porch roof,

up the wall, past the second floor, squeeze through
an invisible fissure under the eaves, and find safety.

I think she knew this too and was simply asking me
to leave them alone.

Photo by Yannick Menard on Unsplash.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: For many years, raccoons made a home in the attic of my narrow, three-story city home, finding their way in under the eaves, hissing and fighting with each other through the night, and shredding the heating system ductwork to make cozy beds for their kits. They were territorial and destructive, and as often as I would catch them and seal up any openings under the roofline, they would find their way back in. I often felt like Bill Murray in Caddy Shack as I futilely tried to keep the raccoons away, but my young daughter felt a keen sympathy for the animals nesting in the attic. Eventually they moved on from my house, and I now think back on my daughter’s tender concern with a smile.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ann E. Wallace, a poet and essayist from Jersey City, New Jersey, is author of the poetry collection Counting by Sevens (Main Street Rag). She has previously published work in Silver Birch Press, as well as Huffington Post, Wordgathering, Halfway Down the Stairs, Snapdragon, and many other journals. Follow her on Twitter @annwlace409 and Instagram @AnnWallace409, or read her work at AnnWallacePhD.com. In November 2022, the City Council of Jersey City, New Jersey, passed a resolution naming her the city’s Poet Laureate for 2023-2024.