Coyote

Typically March silver,
Typically spring gray,
Across the shimmering bay
Darkening clouds
Shroud
The Oquirrh Mountains
Making obscure
The horizon, sky, and shore,
Blending them as one.

Nearby, under a soft, emerging sun
Through the yellow, winter-killed grass
Elongated ears pass
Like miniature antelope
Hopping from one thicket to another.

I shuffled slowly to the rabbit cover
And sat silent as granite.
In
Watership Down fashion,
I wanted to talk, to discover
Rabbit secrets.

So I waited
Until the bunny's fear faded.
Overhead, a gyrating hawk hovered,
Dove, and recovered
In the wind.

Then a subtle flash touched my eye,
And a rabbit whispered,
"See why
We need cover.  Look."

Fifty yards to the east
A large, well-fed beast,
Intent, erect and steady,
Stood alert and ready.

Wild and lonely, with a long, bushy tail,
The coyote was magnificent,
Proud in every way,
Soft, thick fur, yellow-gray,
Pointing ears,
A steady, black gaze,
And the speed and strength
To smack any fear-crazed rabbit
Into the ground.

The stalker, inching forward like a cat,
Dropped into the long grass and sat
On its spring-loaded legs.
Then rising to a crouch,
It sneaked forward even more.
My heart was pounding
Because never before
Had I seen a coyote in the wild.

A thousand years before
Men imagined they tamed
These wild dogs,
Imagined they became
Manís best friend.
So we are surprised today
When
Canis bite mailmen
And send them howling.

This day the rabbit got away.

© 2000 Allen Hackworth