Coyote Eating Apricots

in Poetry
By Penny Perry

for my cousin, Wendy

CoyotePollardThis morning, a coyote, lean as bamboo, eats apricots fallen from our tree. Our cat, safe from him at last, sleeps under the porch. My fists uncurl. I place the broom in its corner. Curses turn to honey on my lips. No longer a wild predator, the coyote is a stray dog, already too thin at summer’s end.

I think of our feral childhood, the way you, a little girl, vamped men, the flesh-eating lies you told. Our house rocked with your tsunami tantrums. You were a lion-sized chameleon roaring the shutters down, while I kept so quiet even I forgot I was there.

Now, I pretend Grandma sits you in a high chair, calls you “child,” wraps a lacy bib around your neck, sings you lullabies, and serves you the stewed apricots you craved.


About Penny Perry, also writing as Kate Harding

A three time Pushcart nominee, twice for poetry and once for fiction, my stories and poems have been widely published in literary magazines. Fiction Daily tagged my short story “Haunting the Alley,” published online in Literary Mama in August 2011.

My first collection of poetry, Santa Monica Disposal & Salvage, was published in 2012 by Garden Oak Press. The collection earned praise from Marge Piercy, Steve Kowit, Diane Wakoski, and Maria Gillan. I was the fiction editor for Knot Literary Magazine, a Middle Eastern literary journal. I was a screenwriting fellow at the American Film Institute, and my movie A Berkeley Christmas aired on PBS. And, I’ve just completed a novel about a school shooting.

Photo credit: Stephen J. Pollard via a Creative Commons license