Home > Animals in the City > Coyote Pack Sparks Fears

Coyote Pack Sparks Fears

April 26, 2013

LA Times, September 12, 2011

by M. L. Brown

day one

In Glendale, a pack of coyotes
has built a den in the shell
of a burned out house.

A fire-gutted house is better
than none—animals trotting in
and out at their pleasure. We once

let our horse walk into the kitchen;
and Rosie, the pig, whom we fed
with our lot of Welfare cornmeal

and milk. It was magic—
the state bestowed staples,
we turned them into chops and ham.

day two

A brief column
in today’s paper:
Glendale coyotes
to be caught, killed.

My neighbor’s dog yaps
all day, it’s a purebred,
small and white—
bite-sized.

day three

Glendale decides not
to kill the coyotes.

The public has spoken:
We must coexist.

The fire-gutted house
will be torn down instead.

My neighbors, where I lived
as a child, must have wished

our kneeling house brought down,
barnyard bulldozed, animals sold.

Women from wildlife welfare
hand out brochures in Glendale:

secure trash cans, clear brush,
fallen fruit; people are the problem.

The town imagines when the den
is gone, the coyotes will move on.


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M. L. Brown’s poems have appeared most recently in Calyx, Blackbird, Gertrude, and Shadow and Light: a Literary Anthology on Memory. Her manuscript Disassembling the Body was a finalist in the 2010 Gertrude Press chapbook contest. When not working on poetry, she devotes time to raising funds for Planned Parenthood. She has an MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles.

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  1. Matt
    June 14, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    Coyotes howl through my neighborhood every night, and even carry off a cat now and then, but no one would want to be without them. This poem pinpoints the ambivalence nicely. The expression “kneeling house” is particularly memorable. Beautiful recording, too!

  2. SJ Woolf
    June 15, 2013 at 11:50 am

    I especially like the magic of staples turned into chops and ham, and the feel of a headline with “barnyard bulldozed, animals sold” (not that the LA Times quite approaches that for pleasurable language!). Thank you! And it’s a special treat to hear you read.

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