Poems by David Denny

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Suburban Scene

by David Denny

From Canary Summer 2017

David lives a stone’s throw from Stevens Creek, which empties into Whisman Slough, then into the south leg of a large tidal marsh popularly known as the San Francisco Bay. The creek drains a watershed of approximately 29 square miles.

The mountain lion sleeps in the sycamore.
He is first spotted by the jogger, who calls
the sheriff, who calls the game warden.
They stand now at a safe distance while
the animal twitches and the great black-tipped
tail sweeps. He is stretched out across
a heavy horizontal branch where trail turns
sidewalk. Nearby a plaque lists the names
of the city council who sanctioned this paving.

Cars slow. Neighbors gather and whisper.
No one asks what has brought the creature
down into the land of poodles and dachshunds,
to the level ground of trash trucks and school
buses, backpacks and briefcases. Like the
skinny deer who come to sip at the creek,
the drought has drawn him down from the hills.

The warden considers his options. 180 pounds,
he guesses, of tawny muscle and claws and jaws.
When he awakens it will be to prowl and stalk
and devour. The cop thinks of his two-year-old
standing naked in the kiddie pool. The neighbors
notice the strong musky tang, how it lingers
in the absence of breeze. How long has this
beast been snoozing among us? What havoc
will awaken when he springs to the ground?

The warden slides a tranquilizer dart into
his rifle. The cop cracks open his shotgun
and loads both barrels. The neighbors take
another step back from the caution tape,
point their camera phones as the lion stirs,
yawns, stretches. Dusk soon. The cool
darkness calls. His yellow eyes blink open,
survey the hunting ground, rich with prey.

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