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Are you wondering who this is, my God?
Shh!  I'll speak quietly.  Keep your voice low.
I am the Masked Raccoon, thief of the garden,
Living in the woods incognito.

My father was an outlaw thief before me,
My mother made her living on the sly,
All our family wear these masks across our faces
So we're tough to capture or identify.

Yet you're more clever, great detective Spirit,
You're masked like me and hard to apprehend
As you sneak about earth working your wonders,
All but invisible to foe or friend.

One secret: See this tail that hangs behind me,
Almost a foot of rings and bushy hair?
If I get lost, just use my tail to find me,
You'll know the rest of me is not far from there.

Although I live to snitch ripe corn and apples,
And pilfer juicy loot from field and farm,
I'm grateful, God, your kindness gave me cunning
To wear a mask that keeps me safe from harm.

from the forthcoming book Prayers of 100 Animals A to Z, by William Cleary



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