The coyote looks free running through the marsh 

beside the creek, bottlebrush tail thick as a fireplace 

broom swishing the cold air. At first, I take her 

for one of the neighborhood dogs. Long ago 

I’d read about the Chicago coyotes who kept 

their den by the stadium, where they followed 

traffic lights and waited for cars to pass.  

Here, they cover a few miles each day hunting: 

cats, dogs, mice, rabbits, possums, moles, voles.

I saw one a couple of miles from here, too, at Purgatory 

Park, where on that sunny morning she paused on the 

snow-covered path, turning her head to meet my gaze 

as if posing a question I could never grasp. Sure, I know,  

I should have waved my arms to make myself  

appear bigger, to keep us from becoming too familiar.

But aren’t we already familiar, neighbors as we are,

and equally fated with the weary walruses 

floating on melting ice chunks in the ocean?


Mary Junge lives and writes in Minnesota. She is the author of two poetry collections, Express Train (Pudding House Publications) and Pilgrim Eye (Laurel Poetry Collective). She has published in numerous journals and anthologies, and her most recent poems appear in Rag Queen Periodical.