-Extra-

Dedication: You know who you are, and this is the only meaningful way I can think of to say I'm sorry. May brotherhood be always stronger than the gap between here and later, between now and after.

Second dedication, for humans: I once ran over a raccoon because I didn't do enough to avoid it.

It was trying to lead its impulsive younger brother back across the road to safety.

Its brother survived and I watched in my rearview mirror as the one I had hit - the older sibling - spasmed to death on the asphalt as I sped on, its broken body only a few feet from the curb. The younger sibling was watching all the while. Powerless. No more able to hold me accountable than I would be if a stroke had taken one of my family.

So I guess this is an exorcism of sorts, and also a prayer.

I hope we are stronger than the tragedies that visit us, and I hope that those raccoons will be together again somewhere.

If there is a heaven for all mammalia, may it be as complicated and tactile as two small black paws can imagine.