The logging has been over a long time and
The forest is coming back.
Still, the logging road is well-used, especially by
locals looking for a place to dump an old refrigerator and
teenagers sneaking out to the woods to party.
Saplings brush the sides of the truck and
I pull in the side-view mirrors
So they won’t get knocked off.
Branches lash the open window.
Sunlight filters through the canopy overhead and
reflects off the windshield and the junk lining the road:
White enameled appliances riddled with bullet holes,
rusted steel drums and five gallon herbicide cans,
a sofa with foam leaking from a few dozen holes in the fabric,
tin cans and rotting plastic garbage bags,
soiled disposable diapers,
faded cardboard beer cartons,
empty bottles and cans,
empty packs of Zig-Zag rolling papers,
scorched fire rings—
all covered with a thin layer of leaf and pine needle mulch, garnished with poison ivy and pine cones and lacy ferns.
The road ends beside an eroded
red clay gulch fifty feet deep. A couple of
wrecked cars have been pushed over the
edge and lay at the bottom beside a pool of
water surrounded by more junk.
I untied the rope from the bumper and
drag the coyote to the edge,
roll him over with the toe of my boot.
It slides down the bank and splashes into the pool,
floats for a moment,
The coyotes had been singing up and
down the valley for the last week, a wild chorus setting all the
neighborhood dogs on edge with lust and jealousy,
and I had listened to them myself,
enjoying the wilderness encroaching
into our safe subdivision.
But someone must have minded.
This was not how I had planned to spend my morning.