“Wild Is As Wild Was” by John Joseph Bowman

These wild animals didn’t get the memo.
There’s a town here now, people and
cars, slamming doors, houses buzzing
with Netflix and washing machines.

The bear who tipped over the garbage
on Borland Avenue didn’t
get the memo, nor did the mountain lion
who loped past Depoe Bay Coffee
and stopped at the corner
of High Street and Kenmass,
and sniffed the air outside the Journal.

The Steller’s Jay didn’t get the memo
or the Rock Wrens, the Acorn Woodpeckers,
Calliope Hummingbirds, Wild Turkeys, Stilts
or the Red-Tailed Hawks. They just go about
their business as though nothing has
changed since white settlers
displaced the peaceful Nisenan.

Our dog believes he can win fights
with raccoons and skunks the same way
he rips the stuffed hedgehog from
my grip as we play in the living room.

Ever wonder if they will all be
around after we’re gone? Will the
squirrels and possum adapt to the
choking air, the poisoned waters while
we fade away like a coyote sliding
into the shadowy woods after grabbing
a Siamese cat for dinner?

John Bowman is an editor and writer living in Auburn. Creatively, he writes poetry and short stories. Several of his poems have been published in magazines and online, and Finishing Line Press published his poetry chapbook, “This Could Be the House I Die In.” He and his wife, Valerie, conduct writing workshops and he writes a monthly column for the Auburn Journal. He is a baseball and basketball fan and enjoys walking the many trails in the foothills and along the American River.