Coyote might have gone

the way of buffalo or beaver

but he learned to smell strychnine

in the snares, taught himself not to eat

the trappers’ tainted meat.

 

Shifting his boundaries

he followed bulldozers

east through razed woodlands

skulking into clearings

foraging up-turned earth

for insect eggs and baby mice

until he wound up on a truck farm in New Jersey

gulping down blackberries, stripping

savory bushes till his chin ran red.

 

Now he ranges around Boston

Pensacola and Poughkeepsie,

lured into a maze of safe sidewalks

by the pull of painted T-shirts

carved fetishes of thread-wrapped stone.

 

People should consider who they conjure:

dung-eater, prophet-with-no-honor,

liar, iconoclast, thief…

 

Trickster Coyote, casting moon shadows

haunting suburban hedges

beating the odds.

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