coyote tree

i wrote this poem almost exactly a year ago. i was standing in my friends driveway, surrounded by tall trees backed by moonlight and dark sky. i’ve just rediscovered it in my folder of poems so i thought i would share…


she stands tall.
dodged by the lawn mower, hugged by the hippy, and climbed on by the kids.
her arms life to avoid a collision with a mower.
her arms hug the hippy back.
and her arms have held tire swings two feet from the ground longer than the ropes could last.
you see, she never gives up.
she keeps growing taller even after They stopped marking her height on the wall.
she’s fearless.
she stood up for her Mother even when They tried to chop her down.
she’s full of stories that they will not listen to.
They think she’s outgrown her family,
and sometimes the wind blows slow and rocks her to sleep.
it blankets her in air too soft to sew into a comforter,
but it still manages to comfort her.
she watched Them in the light of day but at night she lets the moon steal Their shadows.
she lets the forest steal Their sight.
at night, her job isn’t over.
she sways in the breeze and drops a few leaves all in the name of night.
the sky is dark, but her bark is darker.
and tonight, she will not be rocked to sleep.
the wind is too strong to sooth her and she’s restless anyways.
she gets that way before and after storms.
you can call her moody, but her howls move me.
and tonight, she transformed.
she is a coyote tree,
dropping back her head and raising her chin.
she is a coyote tree,
trying to connect with the few people who aren’t asleep
because maybe the night owls will listen when the squirrels won’t.
she is a coyote tree.
at night she lets her guard down because They put the saws down.
she drops her branches and lets her bones creak.
night is the only time you can tell her age,
she’s always trying to look youthful, but somehow the moon’s light illuminates the wrinkles on her sun soaked skin better than daylight can.
she is a coyote tree.
hoping her story can be heard because the drone of the chainsaw was not quite loud enough to cover her brother’s tears as they tore him apart,
but they were just loud enough to cover her pleading.
she reached for him.
her arms didn’t grow fast enough to protect him,
but she can’t be held responsible.
she is a coyote tree.
They used her arms to cut down his.
she howled.
she is a coyote tree.
Their arms moved on to his shoulders and didn’t forget about his knees.
she howled but could not be heard.
Their arms left him nothing to beg on.
Their arms left him nothing to stand on.
her howls turned into weeping.
his legs were shredded all too quickly.
he never had the change to run away and she never will.
she is a coyote tree.
hoping to be heard and her arms have helped a lot more than Theirs have,
so she howls while she can…even if it keeps Them away.
she’s a coyote tree who is not quieted by Them.

One thought on “coyote tree

  1. Emily,
    Just finished reading you posts. You are amazing. Great writing, deep thoughts. Don’t give up on teaching you wll be one of the best teachers children will experience. Charise

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