I want to tell her to look up
into the night sky and imagine
the stars are forming pictures
just for her alone, and what she sees
is what the cosmos intended all along.
She laughs when I say this,
says, the pictures were all taken
a thousand years ago
and given names, like Orion
and Cygnus, the Ursas.
I tell her that I see
many other things in the sky,
and when she presses me
for examples I point to what
she calls Orion’s belt.
What do you see, she demands,
and I pause, then say, ellipses.
I sit outside, on the mesa
having watched the mauve, fuchsia
and coral sky finally concede to night.
The two orange orbs sit
twenty yards away, staring back
and in this moment coyote and I
have known each other for moments,
and for generations, and we are content.
Coyote tells me he was once
an elder living in the old adobe
buildings, how he was a shaman,
still is, with his magic, and I
tell him of how I walked for years
in the desert, food appearing
from heaven, of how I crossed the sea
and some thought it parted for me.
Coyote and I are both old
and we know we each have stories
that no one would believe, and
so we are left to believe each other
and tell our stories to the sky gods.
Dreams are a place
where the dead are free to walk about,
where they speak in voices
barely recalled, but which seem
so familiar to the ear.
They are willing to engage you
in conversations left unfinished,
you are always surprised
at what they have to say,
at how it is not at all
what you expected or wished from them.
You tolerate this in your dreams
because you know that you will
soon awaken, and the dead
will retreat from the sun
to await the dark night’s return.
As night advances,
the clouds march
in slow retreat
to the horizon
under the tattoo
of the crows
under the always
regroup and prepare
in the first shadow
of the sun of morning.
the rain arrives,
and the sun
is washed away
to dry beyond
and there to
prepare to reappear.
a warm summer night,
two ducks, a pond,
a mirror weeping,
deep purple velvet,
a feather racing a leaf
across the morning sky,
a door swinging,
a gate without hinges.
The man liked to cry out into the night,
asking questions for which he knew
there could be no answers, or if
there were, they would be things
he would never wish to hear.
The coyotes in the hills would listen
to his pleas, his entreaties, his
moaning, and they would remember
the spirits of the old ones gone,
and yet back in their now-animal forms.
One night a trickster sat on the mesa,
and when the man began his questions,
the trickster, orange eyes aflame
spoke clearly, loudly, telling the man
that the answer to each of his questions
lay within himself, and he need only
look there, if he had the courage,
which the coyote knew, he lacked.