For years, sighting after sighting
reported, refuted, dismissed:
Bobcat, coyote, dog;
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.