A short prose poem published in The Quilliad, "Eyes Black Hushes"

Eyes Black Hushes

Nick Faust there was a coyote in his back plot. The coyote came around the barn. It was a quiet beast. It came around the barn low to the ground sniffing like a vacuum cleaner my mom uses on the carpet, but quietly. I saw the coyote come around the barn onto Nick Faust’s plot. The coyote came around a lot. I heard Nick Faust tell it to my mom, how the damn beast comes around a lot, how next time he’s going to shoot it. I live next door to Nick Faust. My name is what they call me is Evan Walters. Nick Faust he says ‘Miss Walters if I ever see that damn beast again, that damn beast! And my mom tells me ‘Evan you stop always be listening in, and you mind yourself!’

But I saw the coyote come around the barn low on the ground vacuuming silence sniffing and so very skinny, and then Nick Faust raised up his rifle. The coyote stopped and looked up. Its eyes were round black hushes. They had nothing inside them so I figured they could see everything. They saw Nick Faust’s rifle, they saw it, and they stopped. The skinny coyote stopped coming around the barn low, and it stopped, and it looked up. Shoot it. Shoot it. I watched and I expected to hear the big shot of the rifle, but instead I had to wait. I watched from my bedroom window, sitting on my bed. It was the morning time. I had waked early for some reason. I was in my bed, in my pajamas, it was cold. I was sitting up at the window watching out into Nick Faust’s back plot, seeing everything as it would happen, expecting the shot. Shoot it. Shoot it. But I had to wait.

The coyote looked up, the sun was newborn across the dewy grass glistening through the wet brush leaves in adolescent pinks and orange and coming up still higher beyond the ridge of trees out over the pond, and the coyote stopped. Its eyes saw everything, two tiny black voids sharp and empty blackness drawing in all the world, every shimmer of sunlight upon the grass, every dying leaf covered over, every momentless vibration of the earth itself beating, turning, breathing, and Nick Faust’s rifle at the center. Shoot it. Shoot it. But all of it waited. I sat on my bed and I waited with it. I tried to look around the corner of the house to see Nick Faust, but all I could see was his arms, the rifle raised up aimed. I could not look around far enough to see his eyes. I could not see if if his eyes were empty or full. I could not see why in all the world Nik Faust waited.