Coyote Warning, Poetry by Marybeth Rua-Larsen


‘Your body is brilliant, even when you are not. It doesn’t just heal—it learns.’ From In
the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

It’s February, and we’ve been warned about mating coyotes. Watch your cats. Keep them inside. The baying after sunset is a clear warning, like the canary singing in the cave. If you can hear her song, there’s enough air to breath. If the body learns its lessons from the teachings of vaccines and the disappeared trees, then you are up for the fight. There’s nothing more you need to think about, like why crushing lavender between your fingertips helps you sleep or why you’ve collected so many pine cones and arranged them in glass bowls on your tables. It doesn’t matter. The body works its magic. That burn on your palm from sliding the corn muffins into the oven at the wrong angle will heal eventually if you leave it alone. Those coyotes, who lost their woods to the new strip mall, who pad through your neighborhood in hopes of an overturned trash can with your last bits of wilted salad, will mate anyway, despite their constant hunger and dire prospects. That’s what the body does, it goes on, telling its own frank, unforgiving story, knocking the helpless out of the way.

About the contributor

Marybeth Rua-Larsen won the Luso-American Fellowship for the DISQUIET International Literary Program in Lisbon (2017) and was awarded a Hawthornden International Fellowship in Scotland in 2019. She has recent work published in Orbis, Magma, Shot Glass Journal and forthcoming from Crannóg. Her chapbook, Nothing In-Between, was published by Barefoot Muse Press.

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