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.
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.