Winter 1983 • Vol. V No. 1 Nonfiction |

Hands

Here in New England we sit in chairs. It's from my porch rocker that I watch the raccoon. He usually comes at dusk, that time of day half dog and half wolf, when the downturned leaves seem to glow with the sunset and the upturned ones glimmer with moonlight. I watch him pad through autumn weeds while the sweat of my chairmaking dries on my skin. He lingers in the shadows, still woodside, the sun falling further with each moment, and then waddles onto my lawn. He looks like an overgrown, long-legged cat once the woods are behind him. He tosses a wary look at me and then slowly disappears behind the chair shop. After another minute I hear the enormous crash of my garbage can lid falling on the stones. He doesn't even bother to run off as he used to, dawdling at the wood's edge until it's safe to come back. He seems to know I won't leave my chair. "A twenty-two," my neighbor Moose says while I pare stretchers. "A twenty-two and then we won't blow the b'Jesus out of the pelt."

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