At night now and then outside my bedroom window the raccoons fight. I find the sound of their fighting beautiful in its directness. Not for raccoons, the 20th century affection for allusion and irony. They explode with brief, precise violence, becoming, by the sound of it, a lacerating flurry of claws and teeth. Then, within seconds, a squeal and flight through the shrubbery.
On the balconies of the apartments above college students laugh, talking loudly, drunk. I can't smell their cigarettes; the hot smoke rises above our roofs, drifting south. I envy the sounds of their friendships—the talking most of all. It's not uncommon to hear them fight—a boyfriend and girlfriend, maybe—but in comparison to the raccoons, the fights are tedious. The banality of the problems they dispute seems to be the fighting's point. They are reassuring each other—themselves—that they're alive; the fighting says, I care.