Coyote Moments

A coyote on the block where I live (Photo: David Chorlton)

The world wakes, one arroyo
at a time, from rocks to the mesquite
from which a chorus rises
above the bosque
of howls turning to light.

I’m invisible, walking among men,
a stranger in my own life
and everyone else’s. This kind
of freedom can’t be fought for: its
nature’s gift to me, and it asks
for nothing in return.

One alone has made his way
on liquid steps
from his world to
the human one
where he stops to look around
with the why-not gaze
of the eternal explorer.

Nobody’s expecting me
when I show up beside them. I’m so quiet
they think I’m their own breath
assuming shape and form. I like
the rough edged world,
with thorns and stony inclines, not places
bought and sold until all
that’s left of them is money. All surfaces
are polished there, and when
I look in any mirror
it is to disappear.

A shadow stands up on its edge
and slides through a space
where only a pickpocket’s hand could fit.

There’s never really anywhere
I need to be. One place
is as good as another when the sun shines.
When the bones melt
and the body keeps moving without them.

Their voices peel away
from the mountain as the sun
slides into a crevice and persuades them
it’s time to go down
to the washes and streets
that lead to the pond filled with stars.


David Chorlton lives in Phoenix and enjoys a view of the desert mountain that occupies its space surrounded by the city. He has had an unusual year in which watching the local wildlife has been a help in his recovery. Read other articles by David.