Our cat returned a day after I wrote this poem, but the rooster is gone! As well as the neighbor's ducks and a few local pets. Such a wrenching dilemma, how to exist with wild things and give them their rightful space.


The second day our young cat is gone
my grown son shows me a website about killing coyotes,
he has studied the array of scopes,
night vision goggles and guns.
Right below the wares are testimonies
by farmers turned vigilantes,
describing cows while calving being surrounded.

I shoo him away so I can keep vigil,
preferring to summon kitty with memories,
conjuring her soft black fur,
her pleasure purr, curled up on a lap
while children read.
Her tail reminds us of a fox,
and fox-like she is,
lying prone in the grass stalking the bigger cats,
attacking a young mouse around the kitchen floor,
the children were appalled at her indifference
as the mouse went limp between her paws.

This same son calls to me from the bathroom,
eighteen-years-old and able to fix most things in the house,
manage a girlfriend, college courses and a job,
but there is a spider in the bathtub.
I, who will cradle Daddy longlegs
as I gently place them outside,
am frightened by these other legs-
thick as eyelashes on a show girl,
the way the beast ravenously darts towards me.
I grab courage and a paper towel,
hustle dow the stairs and out the door.

He has another website to show me-
this one about spiders.
We learn they don't crawl up the bathtub,
but fall in, attracted to the water
and can't manage the slippery sides to escape,
that when I toss them in the bushes, 
thinking myself merciful
they die of exposure during the winter months.
He has found a local exterminator,
has their phone number at the ready.

We seem to be surrounded,
the coyotes screeching in the summer nights,
four are-they-hobo-or-wolf? spiders in a week.
The third day our cat doesn't trot in for breakfast,
the kids see another large arachnid in the corner
and argue against my catch-and-release response,
are sure once we turn our backs
the creatures saunter back inside,
they want blood this time.

I envy the coyote who must feel no remorse
as it circles its prey,
think of our kitty struggling in canines.
A wave or anger surges through me,
I take a broom and squash the spider,
say aloud, I am so sorry.