How I Survived A Coyote Attack

Sometimes the shadows have teeth

there are coyotes in the night

and this coyote doesn’t care that I’m just out for a jog

and after I’m going out to grab a bite

first the coyote wants to grab a bite, me

and starts chasing

now I’m not jogging I’m sprinting for my life

though I know my two legs are not faster than his four

thank God, salvation in the form of a park bench

which I jump up on and await the horror

the coyote circles the bench, head low, looking for the point of attack

I think back to when I faced the bear in Alaska

and above trembling knees I raised my arms and my voice and the bear retreated into the trees

I try this tactic now, and the coyote doesn’t flinch

in fact, it brings him nearer, less than a meter from me now, head low, silent

I try getting meaner, kicking the wood of the bench, screaming “Go! Go! Get! Fuck off, coyote!”

the coyote continues circling the bench, looking up at me, waiting for an opening

I try lowering my arms and my voice, whispering

“Go away, I don’t want to fight you. Go. Go away, I’m sorry I swore at you”

and the coyote steps into the shadows

how far God only knows

until I see it run by again

I sing three albums worth of songs before getting down from the bench

and venture the same way the coyote had gone

wanting to run, but thinking walking is wise

running had provoked the coyote the first time.

The most terrifying walk of my life

how the moonlight slithered through the branches

from the bench to the boardwalk’s glow

I figured I would be safe by the light.

I picked up a stick and swung it at shadows

ready for anything

even for dinosaur attack

though the light of the boardwalk was only a kilometer back

a kilometer felt like walking through the valley of the shadow of death

(I actually recited the twenty-third Psalm)

I walked faster, sweaty palms

and when I set foot on the boardwalk I broke into a smile and into a run.


8 thoughts on “How I Survived A Coyote Attack

  1. kvennarad

    This would have made a story*. There’s something about it which is a) purely psychological, and b) purely realistic. As it is, it makes a compulsive read as a poem.

    Now, I have to ask (because, in my limited knowledge, I always assumed coyotes to be mainly scavengers), is this based on an actual happening? I could imagine a rabid coyote being aggressive, certainly.

    *in fact I might do that myself, as an exercise, if you don’t mind.

    1. cottonbombs Post author

      This is based on one of the most terrifying nights of my life a couple Novembers ago. There have been coyote sightings and attacks to little dogs for years in my neighborhood, but, still, no attacks on humans. Standing there on that bench I was thinking I might be making Toronto-coyote history.


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