Why Don’t We Ever See a Live Armadillo?
My friend Jennie poses this question for her blog
the very same weekend I present my four-year-old
grand niece with stuffed roadkill in answer
to her query, “what eats ants?”
It all began when I attached my brand new beagle pup
to her tie-out, so we could have an outdoor family visit.
“Why did you do that?” My grand niece lives in an 1800s
historic building on the main drag of a little Ohio town.
Not much call for tie-outs. “She’s so little,” I explain,
“that a hawk could just scoop her up and fly away.”
My grand niece wrinkles her nose just like my beagle
did the first time she heard bullfrogs and cicadas.
Just like you do when a notion is new. She’d
never thought about hawks and what they eat.
“What else might eat your puppy?” Her eyes
widen in interest that can’t or won’t look away.
“Coyotes.” I say. “And foxes. They’re not
very big, but they hunt in packs.”
Unable to consider predation on this scale,
she changes the subject to ants. My husband
searches the garage shelves for a gift one student bought
online when my AP class read A Prayer for Owen Meany.
My grand niece doesn’t ask how I gained such treasure.
She pokes at orange eyes, rubs stomach hairs, fingers
the narrow slope of nose, and knuckles armor plates.
When she asks about glue and a missing tail tip,
our conversation turns to roadkill and taxidermy.