Sitting at my table, with the windows wide, I hear my neighbor talking to the coyote, who has suddenly appeared in her backyard. “Come here, come here, my beautiful boy!” she murmurs. But I don’t believe her; it’s not a boy and she knows it. The coyote started coming around a few years ago, after her husband died, looking for handouts. I never thought about it before, but of course! It makes perfect sense. The coyote isn’t a boy, it’s her husband.
My neighbor used to feed the wild animals at the edge of the forest during the war. As a young girl, she left bread crumbs behind, when the family was forced to flee as refugees. Here, on the edge of the city, she feeds the coyote, skunks, possums, stray cats, raccoons. She feeds three fat crows perched on top of her garage, carrying on like the Marx Brothers. They hop around, cawing ceaselessly, then down to the ground next to the bowl of cat food and chase the cats away. These crows are as big as dogs; the cats don’t stand a chance.
At first i thought my neighbor must be feeding all the animals cat food, but the more I observe her, the more I think it’s real meat. Tonight, for instance, i could sware she fed the coyote a steak, specifically a rib-eye. Her husband used to love those steaks.
Perhaps the coyote has already forgotten his wild ways, although, if it’s true he’s my neighbor’s husband, he’ll rip your throat out faster than a surprised skunk can spray, faster than crows can caw, faster than a coyote can turn into a man and back again. I wouldn’t call that exactly tame. You can never be sure with wild animals.