Archive for the ‘Animals in the City’ Category

At a Traffic Light

June 7, 2013 1 comment

by Warren Baker

I look up
from my phone
to see a gray fox dart
across the road,
its black-tipped tail
sticking straight out,
running from the remains
of a meal scavenged
from garbage, a primeval
agenda set by a forebear
who crossed this
then-dirt road
with the warm body
of a Rhode Island Red
clenched in its jaw,
blood slick in its throat.
From henhouse
to woods it ran
beyond rifle range
of the farmer.
The light turns green.
My phone rings.
I dart ahead.

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Warren Baker is an assistant professor in the Professional Writing Program at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont. A former journalist and copywriter, he holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the Stonecoast Program at the University of Southern Maine. His poems appear in Sow’s Ear Poetry Review and Chocorua Review.

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June 7, 2013 1 comment

by Liz N. Clift

When the first goat came into Jasper’s — it walked on its hind legs — we thought it was a joke, something we could talk about at our day jobs. When the second one came in, we stopped scattering topping on pizzas, and stared. We watched Tina, the hostess, look flustered and then speak to the goats. We looked at each other, and muttered about the freaks that come in after 10 pm. We wished again that Jasper would put up one of those signs that said “Service Animals Only.”

When a cougar joined the goats a few minutes, we went back to checking on our tables. We wanted to distract our customers — even though most of them had already noticed the animals. A thin man in a pinstripe suit asked, loudly, “Is this one of those places where anything goes?” He didn’t seem angry.

Another man, one of our regulars who always came with a different woman called back, “Indeed man, it is.”

We laughed, and we could hear nervousness in our laughter.

Tina, the hostess, shot the bartender — who doubled as the bouncer — a look. He shook his head and shrugged. According to Jasper, we served anyone who didn’t appear drunk or high. Read more…

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Let There Be Water For All

June 6, 2013 Comments off

by Nicole Holovinsky


Squirrel and firefly at bird bath
(Click image to see a larger version)


Nicole Holovinsky describes herself as a full-time vegetarian, part-time vegan, photographer, ocean lover, avid reader, cook, baker, traveler, and moon chaser — “and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I love taking pictures of the world around me and sharing with everyone on my website and Facebook page.”

On a Beech Branch, Noon

June 6, 2013 Comments off

by Anna Lena Phillips

West Point on the Eno City Park, Durham, NC

“Like tigers,” said one kid. I’d taken them walking, up the path and past two stout-bodied moths: heads crossed with burnt yellow lines, wing veins traced with the purple of rocks the river moves over, orange between, and pairs of creamy yellow spots; orange feet holding the branch, furred bodies curving inward to where they joined. Later, we passed by again: the two abdomens pulsed. “That looks wrong,” said one kid. Another: “Well, that’s what they’re doing.”

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Anna Lena Phillips’s writing appears in BlazeVOX, Open Letters Monthly, The Anthology of Appalachian Writers, and others. A Pocket Book of Forms, her letterpress-printed, travel-sized guide to poetic forms, is forthcoming this summer. Her projects and pursuits are catalogued at To Do in the New Year.

Fox in the Shard

June 5, 2013 1 comment

by Sarah Burke

We explained to him that if foxes were meant
to be 72 storeys off the ground, they would have
evolved wings.
—Ted Burden, BBC

When the fox appeared, brief spark
of orange in the half-built spire,

the crane driver thought impossible,
mirage. 945 feet above the London streets,

71 flights of stairs, old-fashioned ladder
scaling the rafters, the needle’s tip

open to wind and rain. Who knows what
compelled the fox to climb as the structure

moaned and swayed beneath his weight—
phantom scent of food or sex, moonlight

glinting on the stairs? Just a cub,
six months old, living on scraps the workers

left behind, he flickered and vanished for weeks,
rumor, ghost. They named him Romeo,

trapped him in a steel crate strung with chickens.
Released in the city, they say he glanced back

at the tower looming over the Thames,
touched his paws to foreign concrete, loped away.

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Sarah Burke is an MFA candidate in creative writing and environment at Iowa State University. Besides her first publication in qarrtsiluni‘s “Words of Power” issue, her poems appear or are forthcoming in Cimarron Review, Copper Nickel, Green Mountains Review and Passages North.

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The Hawk

June 5, 2013 Comments off

by Ronald Pickett

We connected, the Cooper’s hawk and I. When I spotted it, it was less than 20 feet away, just outside the fence. He had imported the small cottontail he had harvested from somewhere else, and liked this spot to consume his trophy. It is under the eucalyptus tree, partially protected by the fence, and above the nearby roadway.

The feast was well underway, tufts of fur slung into the air floating away on the light breeze, pieces of skin and flesh and bone pulled clear and discarded or devoured. This was clearly a rare prize, one to be finished quickly and as completely as possible to avoid the scavengers. Tearing, ripping the flesh, attacking the limp corpse with careful disregard. The hawk was a victorious hunter; his chest was puffed up, held high between ripping at the inert body, the talons grasping the soft rabbit fur. My camera was silently clicking — film is free with a digital camera so I reminded myself to take lots of photos. The proud bird is partially hidden behind the fence strakes.

Carefully I walked out onto the patio for a better view. The hawk watched me carefully, becoming more alert, but this was much too good a meal to be interrupted by a mere man. The pictures are partially blocked by the fence; I can’t move outside. I take more pictures — film is free. I try some video — still blocked, but the action is good, the dipping of the head, the ripping of the flesh, it is a small scale replica of the Serengeti.

I move to a different part of the patio, I watch the hawk. The hawk watches me. Then, the hawk steps on top of the carcass and faces away from me. He raises his tail high in the air and lowers his beautiful head to the bunny. Suddenly, he is not ripping another piece of flesh, but he ejects a large dollop of liquid that moves in a high arc towards me. His aim is off, the mess misses me, and the hawk quickly looks over his shoulder. His message is clear: leave me alone until I finish this damned rabbit, or the next shot will not miss.

We connected, the Cooper’s hawk and I.

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Ron Pickett (blog) is a retired naval aviator. He writes, paints, travels and is an occasional speaker and coach. He has had over 80 articles published in a dozen periodicals. His areas of professional focus include Power and Influence, Organizational Politics, Customer Service, and Selection and Promotion of Management Talent.


June 4, 2013 Comments off

by Karen Greenbaum-Maya

A good suburban mom takes her four kits to scout.
She’s den mother of the Coyote Patrol.
They spill out into new spring’s almost balmy night,
drift towards the tract homes.

I fear for the raspy pug next door.
For once, he’s not barking like a metronome.
He is business-like, brief,
getting the memo out. Then stops.

The patrol made no meal there, I think.
No shriek, no maniacal coyote laughter,
only my husband’s light rapid breathing.
I listen as he dreams, my ear to his.

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Karen Greenbaum-Maya, retired clinical psychologist, former German Lit. major, and Pushcart nominee, no longer lives for Art, but still. No one believes she is a California native. She started writing when she was nine. Since 2007, more than 80 poems have appeared in many publications, including Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Lilliput Review, Word Gumbo, The Prose Poem Project, Centrifugal Eye, Convergence and dotdotdash. Her second chapbook, Burrowing Song, is in press with Kattywompus. Links to her photos and poems online may be found at her blog, Clouds Like Mountains.