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Coyote

Well I spoke to the river, and the river, the river spoke back to me; It said, “Oh you look so lonely, and so much full of misery – you do – If you can’t find your baby, come on, girl, and make your home with me….
                                        – Aretha Franklin, River’s Invitation

Mama, did you know that God is dead, but sometimes he might live in a teacup. And he will pass right through you.
                                         – D. Murane at 6

Nothing can be truly replicated. Not a love, not a jewel, not a line.
                                         – Patti Smith

She is so light, crossing the small mesquite-grass arc that leads
to the mesa, in cloudless twilight the color of dried blood,
capstone of roughened black lava
that would shred to bone softer skin.

She is moon and shadow
hidden phantom
her neck slung low and long
with hunger.
She is a grey pistol, hanging
from a well-worn belt.

Silence surrounds her bones
as the desert night
and the ancient stubborn rock
turn away from the long high lines of the dry sun.

There is a road, a thoughtless road
laid in sharp curves at the widening base of the mesa.
The mesa is an offering, timeless residue of power
shaped by wind and persistent waters and the falling
away of the weak.

The mesa is an offering, it presents itself –
fearless priestess –
to any god that can live long enough
to accept its gifts.

But the road is a noose.
The coyote sees her mesa
but has forgotten about the tie-trap
of the road

until she feels the ground change beneath
her quick thickened paws.
The wind had shown her a wounded rabbit
but not the pavement
so crudely planted over brush and soil.

An engine, a curve,
the light of two suns curling
into midnight darkness –
all disorientation and new directions.

The white glow of the loud machine
reveals her for a precious moment,
thin-ribbed dancer glimpsed at the footlights,
as she turns her long lovely head
and flashes to the blinding orbs
her brilliant, wary, now panicked gold-green eyes.

Across the road, her rabbit has vanished,
along with the speeding motor that frightened the small
injured thing away. Her heart slows

and she sits, regal, her limbs a divine geometry, and for a time,
if one spies her, as I did,
she is as frozen as an Egyptian god
tricking Death but for the unseen second
Death tricks her.
coyote

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