When I walk the dog in our neighborhood, every light has a motion sensor, even the raccoon pulling peels from the trash has a spotlight, shameless intruder unmasked. I watch as his body disappears and returns, treasure-filled, claws sunk into a clear plastic bag. Even though I’m afraid of the small mouth I know could draw blood, I want to invite him to sit on my kitchen floor. I imagine the pot roast and cauliflower served in various bowls he can pick from, as he likes, water filled in my mother’s porcelain cup. Perhaps this is the true meaning of loneliness– the way I’d invite teeth in through the door and offer them a place to stay. Come with me, little bearer of mites, last taste of spoiled meat before the flies lay eggs, give me your hunger for fresh baked bread. This table is set for two.
Christen Noel Kauffman lives in Richmond, Indiana with her husband and two daughters. Her work can be found in Tupelo Quarterly, The Cincinnati Review, Willow Springs, DIAGRAM, Booth, Smokelong Quarterly, and The Normal School, among others.