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:
liar, iconoclast, thief…
Trickster Coyote, casting moon shadows
haunting suburban hedges
beating the odds.