Badger Crossing

by Dan Albergotti

Tonight my wife is at the edge of the yard,
the edge of the light, what was the edge
of the woods before the landlords cleared it.
She’s stooped down, calling the cats.

What seems so beautiful and sad about the moment?
We’ve lost our language, and the night
is moonless and black. Only the cats
know what’s here, and they come bounding back
toward the house with their fur raised.

My wife walks up to me and asks, “Did you see
the badger?” And then she explains how she herself
had not seen it until it was only a few feet away,
how it waddled right past her across the cleared lot,
oblivious to the cats, to her, to everything.
Her face is full of wonder.
                                           No, I didn’t see it.

But tonight, in this darkness, knowing
that a badger crossed the back lot, oblivious
to everything, is like the firefly’s momentary light,
something almost good enough.

Dan Albergotti is the author of The Boatloads (BOA Editions, 2008), Millennial Teeth (Southern Illinois University Press, 2014), and Of Air and Earth (Unicorn Press, 2019). His poems have appeared in 32 Poems, The Cincinnati Review, The Southern Review, The Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Prize, as well as other journals and anthologies. He is a professor of English at Coastal Carolina University.