ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by Michelle Morouse

Coyotes Howl

Watch our destiny manifest–coast to coast–and clear down to Panama. We die in scores as pups, but just make more. We don't all mate and don't mate but once a year, but when we do, we get it on six times a day. Aunties and uncles guard our pups 'til they spring snarling forth and grow the tribe. It's a wild life, it's a 'burb life, a thirty-mile-an-hour life. We'll kill a bobcat to keep our turf. We'll take your stinking leftovers, but we crave persimmons in Alabama, goose eggs in Maine, sheep in Nevada–or a real riparian feast–muskrats in Chicago, crabs in Carolina.

You sit snug at your window, see deer startle, hear your dog bark, scan the tree line in vain for an astute snout, a flick of mangy tail.


You've got to walk

You act like I'm going to walk out and forget you. Who could? Your staccato bark the instant I lace my shoes, that tail chasing dance, and what now? A pirouette! Catching the collar in your mouth won't get us anywhere faster, then it's on and I'm pulled along,  hurry up and wait for you to sniff the neighbors' mailbox and lose your mind when you sight that boxer who doesn't know you exist and on a good day I say you'll sniff out coyotes for me, even bears, and scare off all from mice to malicious men but now your powers are aimed at a squirrel perhaps the very one you let loose on at Still Dark O'Clock today, my only morning off.

The kid from the corner house, with those discs in his earlobes, stops to pet you, asks your age. As I answer, I know you'll go before me. You would, wouldn't you? Dammit.


Author Michelle Morouse is a Detroit area pediatrician whose flash fiction and poetry has appeared, or will appear, in The MacGuffin, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Third Wednesday, The Light Ekphrastic, and Oxford Magazine, among others.

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