Saturday, January 19, 2013

coyote poem

The first clue was how he yipped instead of laughing. How the sound bounced off the living room wall. And came back at us.

Image by Darryl Joel Berger
But he was wonky in the way that teenage boys are, rough-boned, stinky.

He slunk around the house, almost never looking us in the eye. He almost never said thank you, though we kept the fridge full and his iTunes account topped up.

We thought it was pot. Or jerking off.

We lingered at his bedroom door for tell-tale odours. For oh-oh-Oh-OH!

We could have offered him the good stuff. Or made wink-wink comments about hairy palms. But we tried to leave him be.

Until he started wandering around the neighbourhood at night, shirtless. Until I watched him watching the neighbour through her living room window, his exposed skin glowing.

His nipples were a shock. It had been years since I’d seen that much of him. And he was so very naked…

So, standing in the dim kitchen, I tracked him. Silverware gleaming in its drawer. A chicken defrosting on the counter, its legs securely trussed.

I took prenatal vitamins. I opted for a natural birth. But even so, I knew there were risks: he could have arrived with a clubfoot or a heart murmur.

But I was unprepared when I saw how his coyote’s head was torqued backwards on his shoulders, that night in our yard.

I heard him struggle to howl, his windpipe obstructed. I heard him trying to breech-birth himself out in the dark.

And that’s how I found myself, howling sympathetically by the fridge’s harsh light.

Come in, I tried to tell him. I’ll feed you.

* * *

This is what I call a were-mummy poem. Which means diagramming a transformation inside of a transformation. Which, because I'm writing them, means ever-so-slightly gothic Manitoba-specific settings.

The poem is also part of the continuing collaboration between Kingston-based visual artist/writer Darryl Joel Berger and myself.

As you might expect, they're great gory fun to write/write to...