Desert Suite #3: Arizona

Coyote crouches low by the road

waits for the semis whizzing by

before shooting across

Be careful, Coyote,

I yell out the window

of my speeding car

as he disappears into the desert

on urgent coyote business

 

Why did Coyote cross the road?

To get the chicken on the other side.

 

Pass an offramp for

Sore Finger Road.

I couldnt make up a name like that.

Wonder about the story that inspired it.

There has to be one.

Try to make one up myself

but it eludes me

wonder what that says about someone

who claims to be a writer

Blame it on the stress of the road.

 

Jesus is Lord in Superior

screams a colorful billboard

looming over the road

into town

Every year I drive by

and flip it off

Once, I saw it in a movie.

Turn off the road into town

cruise convoluted, one-lane streets

nailed to faded walls

and collected in brown-dirt yards

 

behind boarded-up downtown

spy on dry little houses

with their desert bones

nailed to faded walls

and collected in brown-dirt yards

 

just like in the movie

 

but no movie can match any desert

 

One year I rode this road at night

coming back the other way

someone else was at the wheel

so my mind was free to roam

with the shooting stars

streaking across

a sky blacker than black

no other light but the stars

even the headlights

sucked into the black

 

there are no roads

to the places Coyote runs

on these nights

 

There is a river

hidden away off a rocky road

wild willow banks

roamed by mixed-blood wolves

from stray ranch dogs

Cottonwoods spread their foam

in languid desert air

floating just above the waterskin

 

you can cross

all of Arizona

without turning left or right

 

Coyote does it in his sleep.

 

Copyright Kimberly White @ Purple Couchworks

published in North Coast Literary Review

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