Dear young lovers,
or perhaps not so young.
The nylon shroud of your tent was only sound-permeable, so I do not know
if the flesh that joined with such high verve and volume
was crinkled crepe, or wet whale sleek in youthful perfection.
What I do know is that your cries ricocheted from fir to spruce
and your unquiet murmurings pinkened the tips of my twitching ears.
The owls ran commentary on your display,
offering soft round vowels in bursts of breath and clenching their curved talons tighter to
the branch, lest the quake and thud of your flailing bodies
shake them loose.
I know that night-hungry coyotes threaded their high whines through yours,
and that one descended to the earthen trough where I lay.
Her musk was so forceful I was sure it would break your spell,
but even the crunch of toothpick rabbit bones and plaintive death squeals
were mere harmonies for your ragged tune.
Inside the womb of my tent, I gripped a cured sinew of burdock root in one hand,
and a cool cylinder of selenite in the other, a balance of heaven and earth
to anchor the meditation I couldn’t bear to begin-not with your mewling cries plucking at
the very thoughts I sought to braid into calm.
But even rabbits need sleep, the better to evade capture and breed another day,
and so at last you fell still.
My sleep, when you allowed it, was as wild as the waking.
I was up and hunting for bloodied tufts of rabbit fur before the dawn,
and stole a glance at your shaken tent, slumped and silent as a tombstone.
It’s midday now, and despite the sleep you stole, my wakened wild refuses rest.
Yes, even rabbits need sleep, but today, my weary darlings,
I am a coyote.