Wildlife Management 1

All the trees kept their own counsel without any wind to speak of,
until one lone limber pine began gesticulating wildly, as if it
suffered from its own inner cyclone.
It was like a lunatic in the
courtroom of other trees.
We forgot about the sunset and the dark
coming on across the plain.
Then the reason appeared: a mother
antelope had twin newborns backed into the tree and fended off a
pair of coyotes who darted in and feinted out, knowing she
couldn’t defend them both.
The girl I was with shrieked, ‘Do
something!’
I thought of the rifle back at the house.
I thought of a
litter of coyote whelps in a den somewhere nearby.
I thought of the
three-hundred-yard sprint to the tree.
The mother antelope would
be first to bolt, and those coyotes would have the aplomb to make
off with both twins.
I said no.
The antelope struck out with her
forelegs, she butted the coyotes back, until one of them got the
chance they had orchestrated and caught a twin and trotted off,
dangling it by the nape as gently as if it were her own.

by James Galvin, from Everything We Always Knew Was True (Copper Canyon Press, 2016)