Jim Talks About Coyote Mask

For Jim Allen who owns the gift and knows its powers

I can’t believe she’d want to give it up.

Bad vibes, she said.  Too dark.
Or some such nonsense.  I think power.

The dancer with the cunning tongue
mesmerizing rattlers, toads and puma alike.

I picture him totally out of control

head wagging
frothing at the mouth

his goatee flecked with spit
smacking his lips and licking his gums

terror waiting
out of reach

ready to snatch away
your kill.

No wonder Zuni
treasure tales of his treachery

why he’s mascot to despair.

Bobbing and weaving he circles
all eyes follow

he’s been known to tease, to change his shape, disappear
appear again

there are those who’ve seen him dining at the finest tables
blessed by the most elaborate churches.

My neighbor recounts the time in the desert
when she waited to be rescued from the cold and Coyote took her
to his den

fed her a meal of free-range hen
then mounted her

turning loose a tantalizing truth she’d been forced to hide for years.

Did I say

he holds the lever
turns it at his pleasure

singing yip-yip-yip-a-we