News Poetry: Food Chain

Photo: Elián
Photo credit: Alan Diaz, Creative Commons, Flickr

On your sofa, a visitor—
call it puma, mountain lion,
or panther, it is not
the fine mouser you left there
curled on your couch. That cat
has been eaten. Did you maybe
leave a window open,
the patio door ajar, some other gap
in home security? Even if you
drive off the big cat snarling
in your face, you’ll need help
bleaching out blood stains,
signs of a beast in your house.

Imagine this:
instead of a hungry puma,
you face a federal agent waiting
to carry you off. Hurry, rush
to flash your birth certificate, and
you meet a headshake and a sneer.

Being prey hurts. So too predation—
the nightmare guilt and the fact
that a bigger cat will prowl. And
under that uniform, the agent is
also meat and marrow.

Karen Douglass has taught writing at Front Range Community College and is a member of The Academy of American Poets and Columbine Poets of Colorado. Her most recent poetry is Two-Gun Lil (212). Visit Karen at