The Moon-Faced


by Richard Jones

Chicago, Illinois

The moon-faced coyote
napping in the compost,
the fox trotting by the hedge
with a rabbit in its mouth,
the family of five deer
who daily graze the hosta,
not to mention the birds, 

woodpeckers, jays, robins,
orioles, finches, cardinals,
the ruby-throated hummingbird 

one could mistake for a sprite,
a little spirit come to save us,
even ducks and herons and hawks, 

even white and blue butterflies, 

and the squirrels and chipmunks 

who act as if they are the central 

characters in an animated musical, 

the low croaking songs of frogs, 

the din of cicadas and crickets, 

and evening’s lightning bugs 

whose Morse code spells hope,
the night’s swirling bats feeding 

on tiny moths and mosquitoes 

that spin in the purple twilight, 

the owl perched on a low branch 

contemplating everything and
the curious hands of the masked 

raccoon looking for something
to steal, something to feast on, 

while in the wee hours three mice 

get away with anything they want 

in quiet of the dimly lit kitchen, 

and then, not least and never last,
the elegant skunk parading his black 

fur like a prince or perfumed dandy 

on the moonlit lawn, its silky stripe
a white banner of goodness and purity 

as it dines all night below my window 

on a banquet of beetles and grubs. 

Richard Jones is a poet whose recent books are Avalon (Green Linden Press, 2020) and Paris (Tebot Bach Books, 2021).