Peacocks on the Streets

Peacocks on the Streets

It faces me down—so still, a fire of amber eyes
And mangy fur. One month into quarantine,
A lone coyote, gifted with the hush of empty
Streets, is visiting town, the block with the movie
Theater, commandeering the corner outside my door.

In Mumbai, honking peacocks strut their inky
Iridescence, flaunt their luxe medallioned
Capes, as they parade along the residential streets.
Mountain goats in coastal Wales laze on top
Of cars or window-browse at closed cafés and shops.

Maybe this will last a month, we imagined, maybe
Six weeks, as we loaded our car with disinfectant,
A rotisserie chicken, toilet paper. The evening was
Warm, so we lit a barbecue out back, before the slew
Of animal sightings. Addled with virus news, we

Neglected to lock up. The next day, we discovered
That a thief had crept inside while we were dreaming,
Disappeared with our home safe—a trove of watches,
Diamonds, pearls. Not the items a person requires to
Confront the dying. Soon, the first of our circle would die.

Our daughter, age sixteen, cries daily, overwhelmed
By the “new normal.” Today my feed directs me
To James Taylor, old now, as I have become. He has
Been talking about depression, about, as a teen, living
For nine months in a psychiatric hospital, about addiction

And how lucky he feels that he’s survived. In a new video,
He sings, while sheltering in place, a song from an album
I played over and over, a balm to obliterate sorrow,
When I was sixteen—a song I hadn’t thought about
Or heard in some fifty years. It makes me sixteen again,

To hear that voice, so sincere, even after a thousand
Renditions, assuring me that I can close my eyes,
It’s all right. And, in a heap, I just break down.
At a pawnshop an hour away, our detective has found
My grandmother’s gold and diamond watch. He has

Nailed a suspect. Fin whales have launched a splashy
Playground at the port of Marseille. Our daughter,
I repeat to myself, is going to be all right. A coyote faces
Me on my corner. Living with wildlife is a part of life—
What we fear, what we prize. Wild loss is what we have.