William Fargason: "What We Are Given"




To cut down on the number of coyotes

on his property, your father would soak


two-inch squares of sponge in bacon grease,

then litter them along the red dirt road.


He told you how they would stick in the intestines

of the animal, starving them from the inside out,


until one day, No more coyote. You could relate.

Their pepper coat, their eyes already glassy.


He didn’t have to watch them, so it was easier

for him to distance himself. This, his duty


to the land, its unplowed fields. How, even

then, you wanted to stray, but you were too


young. How even now, you can’t cook bacon

in the kitchen of your one-bedroom apartment


without thinking Maybe, this time, if I’m lucky,

it’ll kill me, too. Off the bed of his truck


he made you toss one, then another,

those little colorful squares were


a death sentence for the next blind hunger

who came along, who took of the soft meal


laid out before them, who didn’t know

what they were given until it was too late.



William Fargason's poetry appears in New England Review, Barrow Street, Indiana Review, Baltimore Review, New Orleans Review, and elsewhere.