Saturday, April 23, 2016

National Poetry Month--Coyote on the Telephone

Here is the fourth in my sequence of Coyote poems for #NationalPoetryMonth, "Coyote on the Telephone." I wanted to write this poem to demonstrate the power of Coyote's seductive voice and persuasive words.

Coyote, of course, is famous for his use of the word. He can talk himself out of almost anything, which is good for him because he usually talks himself into all kinds of trouble, taking someone else with him who may not be as adept at sidestepping the negative consequences when they come slamming down.


Coyote calls you on the phone,
asks, “Where have you been all my life?”
in a voice that climbs inside your head
and crawls down your backbone
to your hips. He asks, “When
can I see you again?” Your brain
says never, but his voice stops it
and with some other part
of your body, you reply, “Whenever
you want.” Coyote laughs, low and sultry,
and you shiver, knowing
how much trouble you’re in.

You call Coyote. You’ve sworn
you won’t, not again, but your fingers
press the numbers
on their own without the brain’s
supervision. Your brain’s not
doing too well when Coyote
is near--or even the thought
of him. When you say, “I shouldn’t
have called; I swore I wouldn’t,”
he laughs that way he has
that sends your synapses flying
and your skin growing too hot
and tight for your bones
that are melting as he growls.
You know you ought to hang up
and your finger sits above
the TALK button throughout
the conversation but only pushes
it after the dial tone kicks in.

You never thought you were weak
before. Coyote’s taught you
what you never wanted to learn.

Published in Heart’s Migration (Tia Chucha Press, 2009)


  1. You've caught his ways perfectly in this. My own trick, in the days before cell phones and answering machines, was to take a walk so I wouldn't hear the phone not ringing . . .

  2. Mary, I never knew which was worst--the phone not ringing or ringing when i knew it was Coyote.