Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Coyote's Story

The Coyote's Story
By Arthur Stilwell

I'm only an old coyote
(Pronounce the word I pray you--
To imitate our well-known bard Shakefang--
Ki-yoot rather than ki-oat or ki-oatee,
The false lingo of our American tribe).
My homestead's in lovely Qu'Apelle,
Swell for echoing coyote wails.
Well, I'm scoop-backed, arthritic, limpy,
And my fur is mangy; in short, I'm full of years.
Still I try my best to rustle for the kids,
With enough over for my ribs and Dinah's,
My helpmate, whom I fell for permanently
When she (such gentleness) licked me better
After a thirty-thirty slug boiled along my back,
The price of carelessness among the chickens.
In spite of that I can't resist a chicken,
So here I am serenading circle moon,
And heading for the farm I know so well,
The guy who plugged me ages ago, ages,
Who's fed us sometimes since, unknowingly;
I pad warily taught by that near-death,
And observe the fellow through a window,
Bowed, balding like me, dreaming in his chair
All alone, so I surmise his Dinah's gone;
I know his boys and girls have departed,
For it's long since I drew their target practice.
But what's all that to me; I'm famished,
And snout my way into the chicken coop,
Stuff my jaws with a brace of fine, fat hens,
An escape of cackles brings him to the door,
I wonder if the bullet will go through this time,
He stares round with odd, indifferent eyes,
And the fire that throws slugs is not in his hand,
So I bustle on home, mind deep with Dinah,
And I would feel much better, much,
If he had flung yells and curses after me,
Instead of turning back in silently.

(Originally published in Western People)

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