“Sneezing Coyotes” & Other Poems * Salvatore Marici

Sneezing Coyotes

Day before the vet injects
barbiturates on top of Valium,

damp autumn dusk
settles in the prairie behind my house.
Whisky burns my belly.
I dig her grave thigh deep.

Tonight, the moon’s surface reflects the sun,
spreads silvery light over native plants,
Coyotes sniff the hole’s fresh-turned soil.

Today, the last heat this black cat will generate,
leaves, passes through her cardboard coffin
warms my lap. Ruby curls as if
asleep in her basket on the windowsill

except wrapped
in the minor league baseball t-shirt
my brother bought me.
Kathy and I blanketed her with the slip
Ruby slept on when it held her pillow
cushioned against mine.

I lie on my stomach at the hole’s edge.
Box wedges against walls.
Shovel chisels one side, five inches.
Carton slides – bottoms.
Kathy shakes a black pepper tin.
Grinds fall on the thick paper.
Every six scoops of earth
she scatters more powder
till the last shake
dusts the last layer of soil.


Gringo Meets Guatemala’s Pigs
Easter Meal from Scratch

Guatemalans slice pigs’ jugulars.
Adobe walls throughout villages
absorb squeals. Those alive
watch the hanging bleed.
Mothers with daughters wrap
banana leaves around ground corn
moisten to an almost mush,
drop a dab of boiled pork.
Pots steam tamales over wood fires.
Deep in the masa I find

a jagged piece of pig’s skin
tough as an elephant hide
with one black curly hair.


Acquire Self Esteem from Fats

Kathy says to me
Wish you would have more self-confidence
as we eat baked tuna and egg noodles

mixed with green peas
chicken broth glistens
cheddar covers.
I reply me too.

Her fingers peel melted cheese
from her plate. Fork pierces
brown bubbled curd.
She flicks it on mine
because dairy has fat.

I want grease. It lubricates.
Slides life’s rejections.
Makes emptiness a welcome place
discoveries slip into.
Like those I find when I write poems.


—About the Author—

Salvatore Marici’s poetry has appeared in Toasted Cheese, Spillway, Prairie Gold: An Anthology of the American Heartland, Of Burgers & Barrooms a Main Street Rag anthology, and more. In 2010, Marici was the Midwest Writing Center Poet in Resident. He has three books: Mortals, Nature, and their Spirits (chapbook), Swish Swirl & Sniff, and Fermentations (all Ice Cube Press). Marici served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala and he is a civil servant retiree as an agronomist. He is learning to maneuver a 17-foot ten-inch kayak in mangroves and the Gulf.