Coyote lives in a glass closet. He fills the walls with words, wishful thoughts, documenting bruises and wounds, daydreams and expectations. From his place in the sand, the world filters through the gaps between the letters. And although Coyote is clever and well traveled his eyes see only outward. Never has he the chance to look at himself. He is careless, comfortable in being worldly. A critical beast who sees only the worlds flaws.

Then he witnessed the ache of a black storm. He was walking, alone, along the world’s edge. The ancients had warned against traveling so far from home, from the sacred mountains. But he was confident in his ability to find his way home, confident of his intelligence and fortitude. In this wild place the clouds turned ravenous and black. The type of storm that gnawed shapes into the mountain tops. The storm’s ferocity was so sever the rain sizzled along the tree tops. A flash of light was herald to his fear. That flash of light was the brilliance before the crater. To follow was the bang, the lead of a bullet to vibrate his bones. Coyote coward. Called for help, yelped for even a sliver of sunshine to cut though the darkness. But his howls were suffocated and squeezed by the thunder. He was alone, just as he was before and just as he had wanted to be.

Later, after the tempest, he saw it was day. The night had passed a few hours into the storm. The thunderclouds had lied, had inked the black clouds into depression even when sunlight played just above the tempest. Coyote survived. He pulled up his head and watched as the dark clouds fell docile, colored pale by the setting sun. Then Coyote first glimpsed flame. Not from the sky, but from the heart of a black touched tree. A memory of the tempest, a scar to reminded him of where he had been. He approached and watched it smolder. He smelled the electric smoke and stood transfixed.

Soon the day traveled into night. A full and heavy darkness, a mothering womb without the wind and that storm. It was then Coyote looked away from the smoldering flame nested inside the tree. Then, illuminated by the glow of the fire, Coyote saw his walls. And in the flickering Coyote saw what he had written before, those words dance over his fur, solid back lines, distorted, backwards, only a precious few were beautiful. And for the first time he saw himself, his thoughts and hopes and dreams. He saw his foolishness inked across his paws. Found that his insecurities were half hidden things, written on transparent walls.

Image: Chicago Library


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I hail from the sunny southwest. I wait, unkempt and unbidden.

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