I call the city to pick up a dead animal, but they tell me to wait.

I call the city to pick up a dead animal, but they tell me to wait.

It’s not as if the sidewalk is a graveyard, and yet it becomes
one during a walk through the neighborhood. The body—
I refuse to call it a carcass—
of an opossum sprawls as if it had been
running full tilt from a dog, a car, or a murderer
when it died mid-run, mid-leap, mid-fear.

I say die, but to be honest, I’m no Monk,
no sleuth to examine the body for wounds inflicted
by city politics about who gets to live here.
Because the truth is
your colored skin is green enough,
the sound you make is articulate and intelligent,
you dress the part, walk the part,
drive the part, then,
you’re allowed to park
ass in one of the apartments or houses here.

It’ll cost you Shakespeare’s pound of flesh and blood—
because usury is a powerful lobbyist.

But there are no housings for wild creatures hiding
in green spaces and between the giant boxes
we call the home of Angels.
As if
Home would advertise signs that say
“No Vacancy” or “Need Good Credit.”
As if
Home wasn’t a safe womb to love and breed
seeds and dreams, to witness colors bloom in the morning
and darken at night, to waste water
like the endless river in the sky.

There are no signs that welcome the opossums
and foxes, no rooms for raccoons and mice,
no streets even for homeless humans
without fur to keep themselves warm.

The city tells me there is
a queue of more important things
they need to deal with first.
It’s a big city.
There are too many people wanting
too many things.
They tell me to wait my turn.
Animal control will come by in 3-5 days
to pick up the carcass.
They say: This is how we do things.
We control.
Manage things according to the rules we’ve written.

They don’t bother to thank me
for my civic duty. And I don’t feel
good for doing the right thing.

All I know is
a lovely animal died (or was probably killed)
I don’t know what to say that honors its life.

Instead, I think of my parents
and their last moments,
The words I said—but mostly didn’t say—
and how I wished I hadn’t waited,
hadn’t let the days and years aggregated,
as if
one day, I would reach the front of the queue
when asked: What can we do for you?

My heart would open.

What are you looking for?