Journal of Writing & Environment

For years, sighting after sighting

reported, refuted, dismissed:

Bobcat, coyote, dog;

circumstantial evidence,

no photographs, no prints.


But it’s another belief I’d held for years,

doubt kept out by corrugating faith:

That Kara still loved me,

That I would get Briana back,

That mountain lions live in Connecticut.


I read game trails for ambiguity,

paused at the vibration of leaves and

looked for tooth marks on deer bone

the way I double-scanned for e-mails,

felt the ghost-rustle of my cell phone.


Then, a mountain lion leapt

across the grill of an SUV, crumpled

like cardboard, and died on Route 15.

A wild mountain lion in Connecticut.

Just as I thought.


A few weeks later I threw out

the envelope of hand-written letters

and photographs, the shoe box

of gifts long-nestled in newsprint

like a family of dead hamsters.


Whatever to whatever hides in my closet,

the unmarked package,

the shadow of a boulder.

I have stopped now,

stopped looking over my shoulder.