The Song of Brother Coyote

Come brothers and foes at the end of my nose I know you cant see me and hear my cry when the nighthawks fly lifes for the living, free.

When sun shines down, the land dries up and locusts whirl and buzz. When its hot and mean Ive got my own scene its a hole underground for this pup.

I live in a land that was touched by the hand of Creator in His worst mood. Or was it his best? All I know is Im blessed with too little, or just enough food.

But according to men those who lived here once then, not the ones all around this place now I made all this myself. If you wonder, but how? Well, how else could I fit in so well?

Like a small sly doggie demiurge I crouch and stretch and rise to awaken in the evening fluffed up, alert and wise. Emergence from the underworld even when its your den is always a new beginning, its time to go hunting then.

Come run, come race along the trace through sagebrush, bunchgrass rocky place by river willows, under fence, Ill disappear, youll know not whence. Ive placed my paws in all the draws. Ill call my clan across the land. Together we will call our prey and run them down till break of day.

Ill sing with beauty, sing with strength Ill sing with wavering breadth and length a tremolo up to the sky, Ill sing untill the day I die.

Relations then will come to me from all the wide serenity my brothers, sisters, children, then old aunts and uncles, cousins, friends. Perhaps a stranger to the pack. Ill bite him once, upon the back.

And as we gather, one by one well roll and play and sniff and run around in circles, up and back: for nothing does a coyot lack no secrets will a coyot tell a wild dogs smells a wild dogs fun.

And when weve gathered, none too soon, well sit and sing up to the moon all hoping it will light our way up to our frightened helpless prey.

Well yip and yap and yowl and yawn up to the sky until the dawn. Well sing until theyre frightened out of nest and hole and run about. Well sing until they run tonight into their deaths in hopeless flight.

In the great grave seriousness of the task a little meat is all we ask. Well eat them whole if they are small well crunch the bones and eat them all well feed the restless hungry kin, distended guts no longer thin, the elders first and then the tribe, the young adults sometimes denied. For carcass strips theyll fight it out its tooth to tooth and snout to snout.

The pups dont hunt they only lick to make their elders wretched sick. The food is chewed that comes back up so little mouths can eat their sup.

The wind blows softly when its done and then together we all run around the cliffs and down the swales the earth resounding to our wails.

When hunger grips this ragged pup what eer he sees hell eat it up. If it is small enough to catch, around it with his jaws hell latch.

Thats when the trouble did begin; the coyot clans around were thin the family leaders all were mean, their pups were mostly all grown lean.

A knawing hunger in the pit of stomachs just the start of it. When Earth will not give up its game starvation makes the strong go lame.

And so with families all half starved we walked the land at patient pace a ragged noble canine race our necks help up in wild-dog grace we lived on berries bugs and bark and traveled only in the dark on wandering through endless space, until new hunting grounds wed carved.

And then one morning 'fore the light after a hard starvation night we smelled a smell like dirty deer and bleating newborns we could hear just one more rise and there we saw down in a sheltered smoky draw a rolling, roiling mass of meat on dainty little cloven feet.

Their wooly backs, their stupid eyes this hunkered flock we could surprise. And so without a cry or bark we rushed downslope on through the dark and fell upon their little ones while all the elders up and ran.

But hed sat beside the campfire with his poker, dogs and gun. Hed smoked and slowly stirred the coals and waited for the sun. His flock had bedded in the brush and scarely made a sound. His eyes were sharp the night was dark, his ears searched all around.

And then the swarming, bleeting sound the swaying brush, the padded ground a brief confusion in the air, and chills up spines both smooth and haired. The awkward smokestake did arise with metal rod raised to his eyes and sighting down the length of it with fire and thunder did he spit.

Oh swift coyote my old friend oh twist and rush and jump and bend and slyly sneak and run away this morning it is not your day.

Oh fast coyote you are loved by kindred moon and stars above sing on for all of nature's land: avoid the ugly beast called "man".

I am Brother, proud and free To hear my song then come to me. Silence is my closest friend: sometimes, with held breath, you can hear it, in this land. I see everything with a searching eye. I see everything with an affirming eye. Just over the next rise is endless wilderness, and I must see it.

-- Anonymous, July 11, 2002

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