The impact of the current recession on the coyotes of Cape Breton

Here, black spruce crouch low.
Dogwood berries mildly noxious
here, nipped by jay, and kinglet.
Sundews pucker,
bodies agape for bees.

Sphagnum mosses loosing spores
to nest in nicked skin, scratches.
Pine cones bursting underfoot,
and the gray underthings
of the backward turning leaves.

A perspex sign extrapolates
felix lynx’s inborn traits, our own.
My husband wonders
if moose climb trees.

Meanwhile, somewhere in Ontario,
a senior civil servant
untwists his tie.
The coyotes of Cape Breton
jar, alarmed.

Black snouts seek out trodden crusts
along the grey-board trails in vain.
Hunger kankers up,
erupts in one pack-brain against
the empty winter.

I read about it later, how she died:
blood on the outhouse door
and the dogs still screaming after.

Now somewhere in the spruce-dark wood
a warden near retirement
takes down his gun.

~ Ernestine Lahey

Ernestine Lahey is a Nova Scotian now living in the Netherlands where she teaches linguistics and literary stylistics at the Roosevelt Academy, Middelburg.

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