What Really Happened

My father didn’t overdose. A rabid coyote bit him
by the woodshed of his mountain home. He didn’t want to

believe the coyote was rabid, so he didn’t tell anyone
about the bite, and none of us were there to notice

his limp or the dark spot on his pant leg where
his blood kept soaking through. It seems now

like we’d sent an ambulance to his house every week
for years, sometimes just in case, but of course,

of fucking course, we’d stopped that only weeks before the
rabies bit him by the woodshed. That’s the thing

with viruses that destroy the brain, they’re patient;
they’re real motherfuckers.

Winner of the 2020 Poetry Chapbook Contest

Erik Wilbur is from Bullhead City, Arizona (or Sacramento, California, depending on the context of the question). Currently, he teaches writing at Mohave Community College in Lake Havasu City. He is also the program director of Real Toads Poetry Society, a nonprofit literary organization that provides opportunities for residents of Northwestern Arizona communities to learn about, experience, and share works of literary art. He received an MFA in Creative Writing from Fresno State University in 2018.