Animal Kingdom by Sonia Greenfield

I Don’t Love Lucy

You know that’s how they want us:
cinched in at the waist, aproned,
adorably making an ass of ourselves,
whether it’s shoving bonbons down
our shirt or getting shitfaced
on Vitameatavegamin so they can bark
with their idiotic laughter. You know
they want us to try and fail so they can say
Lucy, Lucy, Lucy, and pat us on the head
like toddlers, they want our eyes
wide and our brain empty, they want
our figure trim, want us cooking for them,
but for God’s sake don’t sit to eat.
They want their martini neat. They want
a house that passes the white-glove test,
want that drink in their favorite chair
when they finally get to rest. They want
their namesake seen and not heard,
not a word, want a live audience laughing
at our dreams, want us cooking up
one more hair-brained scheme.

Animal Kingdom

The coyote stood on the roof of the neighbor’s
shed, trapped between the abutting yards,

a gardener in one, my shepherd patrolling
in ours as late autumn sun glowed white without

its orange incandescence. The beast was especially
lupine and larger than the usual ragtag ones,

so every dog in our square block sounded
an alarm. I suppose I should mourn family cats

that fall prey to these wild dogs wandering
the streets of L.A. I’ve read posts on neighborhood

boards, spotted flyers stapled to telephone poles,
even seen altar candles burning in an alley.

There’s little doubt the one poised on that roof
hasn’t made a meal out of a child’s pet once curled

at the foot of her bed. I have been that child.
But what I have seen lately reminds me

we are part of an order of animals, and it’s
a luxury to not admit it always comes down

to eat or die, and we’re foolish to not recognize
what can happen when we open

our screen doors to a desperate world
to let our precious creatures out. I have

been that coyote.

Sonia Greenfield was born and raised in Peekskill, New York, and her book, “Boy with a Halo at the Farmer’s Market,” won the 2014 Codhill Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in a variety of places, including in 2010 Best American Poetry, The Antioch Review, The Bellevue Literary Review, Cimarron Review, Cream City Review, The Massachusetts Review, Meridian and Rattle. She lives with her husband and son in Los Angeles, where she edits the Rise Up Review and co-directs the Southern California Poetry Festival.

Photo: “Lost Coyote” by Michele Raphael