poetry, prose & story
"I think when you look back at yourself as a young coyote, it’s really hard not to say, I was so scruffy. I made so many mistakes. I was not strong enough and my bite was weak. This judgement is held secretly, privately, especially in today’s robust trauma-porn wilds, where everyone has such a neatly laid story of depravity stacked up into victory. As a coyote, you don’t want to be a part of that narrative, even though it’s true. You don’t want to brand your identity as the pup in the woods alone, even though solitude is your thing.
This is partially genetics. Coyotes are unique in canine evolution that they roll alone or in packs. Really, either one will do. Sure, some of us have pre-dispositions. Quick to snarl, all of us screaming howlers. We’ll distract you by remarking on your lesser attributes, then sneak around with your egg in our mouths. But we know our people, our kin, the ones that we belong to. We are kind to them, loyal, but don’t let that make you think we are dog-like. We’ll eat a puppy given the chance."
Coyote Story, Atticus Review, 2020
Kelly Gray (she/her) is a writer and educator living among the quietest and tallest trees in the world on occupied Coast Miwok land, deep in fire country. As a naturalist and trained raptor handler, retired union organizer and full spectrum birth worker, Kelly pulls from her relationship with the non-human world, as well as her work with birth and death, to speak to our most animalistic of urges. Her writing explores the tension between loss and survival while often de-centering human narratives, flipping constructs around predator and prey, violence and sensuality, exploring body and embracing cringe worthy notions of the ugly within.
Kelly is mother to one perfect cat, two spoiled yet emotionally bereft dogs, and a beautiful human child who is the recipient of her life long love letter, a work still in progress. She is fortunate enough to create a home with her beloved, painter Gage Opdenbrouw, where they center life around the inner workings of fog banks and the shadow of flowers.