In the writing universe when other planets
fall into alignment and I’m left aside,
a little voice whispers “Don’t bother.”
I watch them flaunt golden typewriters,
channeling the magic down. I use their faces
for target practice, sending fountain pens
and sharpened pencils across the room like darts.
“What would grandmother think?” you ask. I think
she’d be pleased at how my accuracy has improved.
She always grinned in the picture hung between two mirrors,
and would never say of me:
“Her modern poetry imitates others, pitifully. . .
attracted the mice out of my attic. . .
limp, like the noodles floating in my soup.”
The Coyote Poems
Coyote made me out of Raven's feathers
and the space between snowflakes.
I slept in the embrace of tree roots
beneath a pile of field stones.
He guarded my sleep until
the trickle of water woke me.
I climbed through the earth
and he greeted me under the circle of sky.
In my dress of dead leaves
and a crown of daffodils
I run beside him through the night,
and we drink the glow of fireflies.
Coyote and I meet by the fence when the stars first appear.
I leave my rules, restraint, and my clothes in a pile there.
We lope down the hill, tear through the woods, and startle
up deer, laughing at their clumsy fright. We sneak around
hen houses on all fours, make watchdogs nervous as we flit
about the edges of yards. We eat new peas right off the vine
I pry open pods, feeding him from my hands. We smear
ourselves with tomatoes, the juice covering my body.
Nose-to-nose, we drink from the creek, and when the moon
thin and sharp and white, we sing to her. Coyote's is a love
Mine is one of rage and pain - biting myself until he
leads me away to his hollow under the rocks.
Hair and fur and tongues all tangle together as we smooth
all the old hurts. Coyote vanishes when we part by the
fence, and I
go to wash away the woods and the mud - make myself up
respectable again. I slip between clean sheets
and dream of his promise to teach me how to shed my skin.
Coyote came into my dreams by moonlight.
His breath on my face switched things
around until I found myself in someone
else's dream. What was my home
became a maze, impossible to navigate.
Running slowed me down. Shouting
was only whispers. I wonder who
was rooted and voiceless
in my dreams last night.
They're not fighting again because
she didn't think again, and he
turned words into knives again.
Instead, she is focused on the road
ahead, and again he asks "What?" -
a whip-crack in the car. She can't
open her mouth because rather
than speaking without thinking
(again), she has been biting back
words, swallowing pieces of her tongue.
© 2011 Amanda Foley
received a BA in English from
Appalachian State University in 2005.She is currently
residing near Todd, North Carolina, and her poetry has been
published in Floyd County Moonshine