Salamander 2024 Fiction Contest

SUBMIT: May 1 through June 2, 2024 | READING FEE: $15


Wild Life

Gerry LaFemina
| poetry


The city warns that coyote have been sighted

broaching a few neighbors’ yards. Scat & paw prints

found come morning. They must be hungry & desperate,


trembling in the shadows beyond the back porch,

which is the way a secret lover once arrived

some nights. How much excitement in that romance,


right there next door to the gossipy so-and-so

with her almost perfect lawn, her Jesus loves you

bumper sticker. The moon like a lit lamp


through a curtained window. I hear yowls

in the wind or else it’s the echo of radio song,

some crooner with his torch, his inevitable


hurt. The coyotes may be in heat—it’s March

after all, so food & love have been scarce for months.

The motion light floods the yard momentarily.


The apple branches shiver in winter’s last gusts

like a pilgrim. No one & nothing approaches

my porch anymore. Relentless & close


something yips—systolic-diastolic—well toward dawn.

Gerry LaFemina‘s latest books are The Story of Ash (2018, Anhinga Press) and the textbook Composing Poetry: A Guide to Writing Poems and Thinking Lyrically. A noted poet, critic, essayist, fiction writer, and musician, he teaches at Frostburg State University and serves as a writing mentor in the Carlow University MFA program.

Saturday Morning, Low Tide
Dew Claws