by Anna Kisby

raton, es-see-ban, culu, suk-suk
Edge of the freeway, weaving like a drunk man, someone is lost
on two legs stumbling into paths of cars, veering away, in again —

wee-chah, icat, mapache, a-rough-cun
The one who took everything in his hands is empty-handed, catching
only at onrush of air, gasoline vapour

suk-suk, icat, raton, wee-chah
Truck-horn howls return to his mind coyotes
of childhood, great horned owls, taste of corn in its milk-state

way-atcha, tou-aru, ny-mas, arath-kone
His bandit’s mask has slipped, he makes no mischief anymore,
there are no locks to pick here


The night before, in fir forest above road-verge
he heard earthworms pushing their way to surface,
put him in mind of arriving at sea-mouth after freezing river
way-atcha, tou-aru, icat, ahrah-koon-em

He has kept to his den all winter, he is over the wonder
of snow, will leave no more tracks for you to follow
on highway, sidewalk, forest path. His glorious tail
arath-kone, mapache, culu, suk-suk

is the trophy you seek or the curse — now swerve
for him, save your tears, grip the wheel and speed on
until he’s a speck in your wing mirror, in the stories you’ll tell
ahrah-koon-em, arath-kone, a-rough-cun, raccoon


‘Americana’ was previously published in ‘Nature & Sentience’ (Corbel Stone Press, 2017).

Anna Kisby is a poet living in rural Devon (UK). She is widely published in magazines and anthologies, won the BBC Proms Poetry competition 2016 and was commended in the Faber New Poets Scheme 2015-16. Her debut poetry pamphlet All the Naked Daughters is published by Against the Grain Press (2017).