At the Intersection with Wildness

We found a string of jewels never meant to be
revealed on a Monday morning—
not here, not on the lawn beneath
a king palm tree on a city street—

a luminous necklace of intestines
dangling from the spine of an animal
locked in fetal position, fur trailing
like orange hair yanked out of a brush.

You said too big for a house cat, its mouth full
of predatory spikes frozen in outrage
at the ultimate betrayal. And what killed it
we couldn’t tell—coyotes I guessed, and

was it a young bobcat from the canyon? I found no tail
when I probed it and we heaved the carcass
into a heavy-duty plastic bag, the sloppy weight
of it still warm as a human belly.

Why didn’t the air rise to a howl we could hear
in the early morning hours, our front yard
the sudden celebration of survival
as necessary and raw as birth?

We who close our eyes and tiptoe past
the uncomfortable edge of wildness—
in case it tells us something about ourselves
we wish we couldn’t hear—

bore the animal’s remains at arm’s length
and swung the bulky bag into the trash
just in time for it to be disposed of
in the Monday morning garbage truck.

You reminded me to wash my hands
in the sink in the garage.
I wished I had photographed it on my cell
so I could memorize the awful beauty.


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