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Coyote, Glacier Point Winter

Outside our hut, the coyote rose

wearing winter's other weather,

a dawn lit cumulus moon,

survival-rendered lean,

lithe and death proficient.

Our gravity of plenty pulled him

into watchful, halting orbit.

While around him, solving its own equations

of want and fear, revolved a single raven,

his obsidian moon.

The others went outside.

And snug in my suburban skin

of safety, ease and order, I went along,

to stare at wildness close, and perhaps,

for just the faintest scent of danger.

But the coyote knew what a direct gaze meant

and found only the raven

and what was beyond or between us interesting.

We would not feed him, so in time he left.

Trotting close in front of us

and looking straight ahead,

his manner said, “I am no threat,” then

he gave a single sideways glance

that drew me in.

Had I expect the honeyed, “hello-love” look

of my Lab? But there was nothing for me

in these all-business eyes, and without my cue,

I could not play my person.

So for a moment, my ranging, feral mind,

in its mottled coat of me and you,

tame and wild, safety and danger

slept in silence at my feet.