Bethany Reid



February’s false spring
brings to the farm a spate of new calves
and a lone coyote

tired of hunger. My mother
calls the coyote “he,”
as in, “You’d think he’d be satisfied

with one.” But he takes all
plus one cow in labor. It’s our version
of tragedy, the small herd, the lost

calves dramatic as Shakespeare
though I don’t know who’s the hero
of this piece, maybe my brother’s stepdaughter,

thirteen, carrying her 22-rifle
and stalking our coyote
over the brown winter fields,

marshes seeping to her boot tops
and the scree of a red-tailed hawk
falling over the deep woods. Our coyote

is nowhere to be found, curled
in her den, I suspect, with wet pups,
her dugs so swollen

she can’t hunt. Then one new calf
turns up at feeding time
with its mother

and, in the orchard,
blossoms curl against black boughs
like hands waiting to unfold.


“Hunger” is reprinted from Sparrow, now available from Writers & Books.


Bethany Reid teaches American literature and creative nonfiction at Everett Community College — and the inevitable college composition. She and her husband live in Edmonds with their three teenaged daughters, and their three cats.  Her first full-length collection, Sparrow, is just released from Writers & Books.