Listening to the Cougar
I don’t know why he’s screaming
like a banshee. I’ve known the sound
for years. When you grow up
in the woods, you’re taught things city
kids don’t need to know. I’m not
worried. My dad has a gun. He takes
one each time we go berry picking
in case we come upon a bear. He hopes
we do. Bearburgers, rump roast,
and bear chops are favorites at our place.
The mountain cat is deep in the green
Swearing in cougar because we have
Wandered into his realm. He knows
he is unseen and we know he doesn’t
eat berries. Perhaps he thinks we will
kill and eat his deer, the field mice
he takes as snacks, or other game he
claims in this neck of the woods. His
message is clear. He is not pleased.
I know he’s right. The universe spent
a long time creating a cat like him. He
has certain rights. They stretch back
to a day when he would have been
the hunter and the berry pickers the prey.
Fredrick Zydek is the author of nine collections of poetry, T’Kopachuck: The Buckley Poems being his most recent. He edits Lone Willow Press.
Support your path Witches&Pagans #20 - The Animal Issue