Journal of Writing & Environment

“Urban Coyotes Never Stray, New Study Finds”


Scientists who genetically sampled 236 coyotes in the Chicago area over a six-year 
period found no evidence of polygamy – of the animals having more than one mate –
nor of one mate ever leaving another while the other was still alive.
Kurt Knebusch, The Ohio State University Research and Innovation Communications


Nursing their own divorces,

scarred hearts, straying eyes,

the researchers veered

from language of romance,

never mentioned devotion,

spoke instead of mating systems,

his clear genetic stake

in his offspring, her need

for provisioning, territory defense.


They swagger midnight alleys

exchange wary looks

with shivery backyard dogs,

dodge eight lanes of traffic

together. What but fierce

certainty could temper

such dangerous lives?

Once in a while

our streets are theirs:


After the blizzard, Chicagoans

awaken to their stilled city,

gaze from stoops and fire escapes,

discover parallel paths

crossing crisp white drifts

where before dawn the lovers

in sodium spotlights danced

pas de deux, adagio

past the snow-stayed cars.