Stan Galloway


Coyote moves like fog,
present but obscure,
smoke rising from the ground
descending, dissolving,
storm weather as my father called it:
“Prepare for cold and wet
when the smoke won’t rise above the trees.”

Coyote is the fog that is and isn’t,
never clearly visible in sunlight,
never fully absent,
like a mist that creeps just above the ground

Coyote is fastest chasing dawn over the hills,
a figment of fog crossing the crown
and scurrying along the bottoms,
settling, watching, waiting.

Coyote is the wind that makes six hens five,
the sound of movement where nothing is but fog,
the rustling of hairs along my arm
when fog hangs stubbornly along the fence,
straddling, obscuring, pausing.

Coyote is the cold and wet my father knew
that kills the rooster and the sucking calf –
fog with footprints leaving
bloodstained calling cards
to blow in morning’s sun.

Universal Attraction

The hotel bar in San Antonio
was crowded on the last night of the conference
and I wanted nothing more than two small
drinks then bed. But as I listened to
Hispanic-Irish poets coo and woo
in hybrid tongues, I saw you, yellow rose,
acknowledge admiration for the woman
weaving images of soulscapes with her
words. I felt a tug in me, a wordless
flick, that wasn’t bourbon in the throat,
but quick revision of the universe.

Twelve short feet loomed large between us like the
void of space between my planet and
another, mined with lifeless asteroids,
so dangerous. The second drink was short of
what I needed for a spacewalk so I
signaled for a third. And when I drank and
looked again my system was one planet
short as well, and I had only muted
Texas poets’ star-songs in my head
and not a dreamed companion for my bed.

Stan Galloway teaches English at Bridgewater College in Virginia. He was nominated Best of the Net in 2011. His chapbook Abraham is forthcoming from Sierra Delta Press (2012). He has had more than 80 poems published and has also written a book of literary criticism, The Teenage Tarzan.

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