Even when you see it coming,
leave tread prints behind,
you’ll wonder about this moment,
this curve at dusk, the dog chasing
a coyote across a field, the coyote
losing ground each time he checks
his pursuer, all the time running
toward the road, toward the woods
on the other side, all of us thinking
we have enough time. Then brakes
yield that rubbery smell of trying.
In that instant the coyote sees you,
his eyes hold all he knows.
When you stand on the shoulder,
you’ll see the pool form, the eyes
glaze over, the body heat
shimmer into air; how fast
light subtracts itself.
This is a reprint of work originally published in Light Subtracts Itself.
Maryfrances Wagner’s books include Salvatore’s Daughter, Light Subtracts Itself, Red Silk (winner of the Thorpe Menn Award for Literary Excellence), Dioramas and Pouf. Poems have appeared in New Letters, The Midwest Quarterly, The Laurel Review, Voices in Italian Americana, Unsettling America: An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry (Penguin Books), Literature Across Cultures (Pearson/Longman), Bearing Witness, The Dream Book: An Anthology of Writings by Italian American Women (winner of the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation), et al. She co-edits the I-70 Review.