Some creatures hate you seeing them.
They lean into a wind away
with faces full of spleen.
When the coywolf came to me, her eyes
said, I have not come to you at all,
and then a second thing, some
beautifully put imperative—
I have forgotten it—to forget
coywolf, which I have not
completely. It was a summer evening
when the coywolf came to me;
sphinx moths snorted lavender juice
in landscaped prairie weeds along the lake,
the great lake that glows like dawn
as it goes dark. I stood
by a maritime pitch pine, the needles
I like to touch. Like one memory you keep,
and no others, of a lover who said
Come here my flower and pulled
you onto him—like touching a memory
like that, that’s how to hold its needles.
The lake lapped at the shoreline,
one wave regurgitated itself
into the cavernous riprap
and I turned to the dull bell of sound,
to where the coywolf sat:
poised like a dog told to sit,
nearly chameleonic with her concrete-
gray fur, her stillness of a building
against breakwater stones.
Have you ever eyed your enemy
and thought, No Never Not if we were the last
two people on the planet—the coywolf comes
from getting over that.
Come here my flower. When the coywolf came
to me I could not stop looking
in her eyes, as she let me, if I kept consenting
to be forgotten, as I did.
Their mission has no mission, no hidden hybrid
agenda, except to live. So coywolf learns
the lapdogs’ schedules, the last pee
of the night. Coywolf knows
how many bones wait in the rack of ribs
you brought to the barbeque, can tell
by your baby’s inhalations
if she’s about to laugh or cry.
Coywolf sees you with your frozen fish
and all you have to do is thaw it, in water
that falls right out of your faucet.
Coywolf knows you have an errand
and you think it will be quick,
no need to latch the back screen door.
When I found the coywolf come to me
and she said, you have found nothing
and never will, it was dusk;
as I stood searching like a human
the night bloomed into blackness
beyond the sidewalk lamps—
I saw it. And I left.
I think about the coywolf as indistinctly
as I can: asleep on her bed of reddened needles,
or dangling from her maw a squirrel
limp as a long-traveled letter
that promises good news, but not for us.