Meeting the Coyote

Here comes freedom wandering
off leash, but with no flag
to authorize it. He doesn’t even care
who’s watching. Stops. Then eases gently
back along the sidewalk, knowing
he belongs to the earth
beneath it. Which way now?
All roads lead through the open mouth of a howl
yet he’s casual as a breeze,
moving along on a cool morning
when nothing eludes him. His eyes
are polished by the attention
granted everything around
and they show no sign of fear.
He’s in a foreign country
in suburbia, a place
where loneliness cannot be distinguished
from a threat, or a first
cigarette from the tip of a lightning flash.
The ground was never
zoned for him, he’s simply adjusting
to change before going back
up the nearby mountain, whose ridgeline
is light disappearing as the sun
wanders back to the universe
with a fresh kill between its teeth.

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.