Video capture of deer chasing coyote at night

One Poem by Brittney Corrigan

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The Road Ecologist Watches a Deer Chase a Coyote Off the Snoqualmie Wildlife Overpass

They might have a little history together. The road ecologist
reads the WSDOT tweet, watches the video over and over.

She squints at the night vision shapes of coyote and deer, bright
and eyeless and bounding. She sides with the coyote, lone soul

just trying to navigate the dark. The road ecologist understands
what it’s like to be driven away, tail between legs, running.

The doe is alone, but who knows what small hearts quiver
in the forest beyond? The coyote is alone, but who knows

what small mouths pant in the distant den? I don’t want to be
alone, the road ecologist thinks, refreshing the video again.

A little history together. As if that could explain instinct or fear.
As if that could explain every severed longing, luminous bodies

expanding the distance between them. The road ecologist
can’t sleep, listens to nothing in the empty night.

 

  

 

Brittney CorriganBrittney Corrigan is the author of the poetry collections Daughters, Breaking, Navigation, and 40 Weeks. Solastalgia, a collection of poems about climate change, extinction, and the Anthropocene Age, is forthcoming from JackLeg Press in 2023. Brittney was raised in Colorado and has lived in Portland, Oregon for the past three decades, where she is an alumna and employee of Reed College. She is currently at work on her first short story collection. For more information, visit brittneycorrigan.com/.

Read Brittney Corrigan’s story “The Ghost Town Collectives,” winner of the Terrain.org 2020 Editor’s Prize in Fiction.

Header image courtesy Washington State Department of Transportation. Photo of Brittney Corrigan by Nina Johnson Photography.

Terrain.org is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, artwork, case studies, and more since 1997.