My father hated coyotes, implicated them
in every “missing pet” poster we passed. I didn’t understand,
not really, until they took my dog. They must have been
just beyond the fence, eyes glittering an amber light, like yellow flames
in the dimness, yipping, jumping, speaking
a language my dog knew once, but had forgotten.
Like seeing himself in a river: they the bright, sharp jasper and he,
these centuries departed, the smooth river stone.
They led him out into the neighbor’s orchard, where he found himself
trapped, those yellow flames rising, climbing the walls,
he was trapped in his becoming, all those eyes of pyrite
turning in their sockets with each snap, each severance.
Come morning I found the pieces of him, bones
littered around, broken open
like glass bottles they drank the liquor from,
the tufts of fur like flocks of fallen birds, and all of it
gone so cold in its stillness, I’d consider it a painting:
the Goya in the pale hair, the dirt, the vermilion
of Saturn’s Devouring. I hated them for it,
for years, but why shouldn’t they
feed their hunger in the ways they can, have the thing
that climbs into their mouths? Why shouldn’t they,
voracious jewels of stone or glass or fool’s gold,
glitter like they do?
Cami DuMay is an undergraduate at UC Davis, pursuing a degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing. She has won two first-place awards and one second-place award for her writing at the university, and her work has appeared in Equatorial Magazine, Hare’s Paw Literary Journal, and by the Moonstone Arts Center. She writes about myriad aspects of life, from intimacy and trauma to nature and insects, but has a particular fascination with the intersection of the natural world and secular worship.