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Clade Song 4

it is Georgia law that any coyote apprehended must be euthanized
the guitar stopped talking. there will be
four blood moons before i lose my hair
or teeth this year. the coyote scratches
ticks off its sores on the brittle Georgia
pines. no crickets to witness this for months
to come. i dreamt the cobblestones were turtles
and they were swampwardly. no suit hangs
in the closet. three left for funerals. one
for a courtdate. one for a baptism. one
for a marriage. the last one was investigating
a murder with an iris in its lapel. sing to me,
coyote--sing to me acoustic pines waylaid
in freezing rain. living in a cosmos to watch
a show about it called Cosmos. i play an owl
in the pageant. swiveling about with my eyes
like plates about to break. yes i am in the market
for a new vehicle. tomorrow i must clean
the sign-room at work. this means cuts, punctures,
tetanus. but what collection of signs has ever
been safe? what fixtures? alloys of smelted
us and ours filigree the grooves of esprit.
the punk rock of the traffic is interloped by the
gospel and blues of the train creating an adult
contemporary grey field and the coyote loses
an eye to pellet gun courtesy of snow day.
while walking styrofoam covers me from wind
as if i'm to be shipped somewhere protected.
they still can't find that Asian plane and i'm
astonished that they don't lose more of them
while i catch microbes in my eyelashes.
the time i stole the grilled chicken
breast from the child. the coyote circles
the housefire. making coffins out of pews
and pews out of cypress. i carve deathwishes
in birches to confuse were-creatures. my town
is dissolving into its crystal-meth glassware
while burping intoxicating mammoth fumes.
i remembered it--not in my head--in my
stomach. building canoes from hurricaned
churches. child carves a coyote from soap.
washes briared legs with it later. coyote
foaming and the clouds moping over like whales
beaching themselves on skylines of cities
waiting to make them into oil. you curling
your hair with long slender fingers. that's how
you play piano. i hear it in my sleep. voice
like fence gate opens spilling mustangs.
the painting of the feet that are actually boots
to be laced-up. my head a helmet i lace
to my shoulders every morn. painful as
monk's chores. my ears angry wren never
to escape. my hands always shaking but not
for the reasons you might think. in a bad movie,
pseudo-poet asks, "what hurts you the most?"
coyote with one eye saunters lanky across
two-lane highway past a drug-deal at the BP.
if i stand too close to an authentic person,
feedback wails and breaks plateglass windows.
wind in your hair like hurricane piano. me
and coyote in the canoe head up I-85.
what we pass is caucus on the right
carcasses on the left and crocus up the middle.
the horizon pulling us up into to its syringe
to be shot into a celestial vein. the coyote's
head on my lap and trying to find the best
place for him to bury me, for i have finally
like you, maybe, driven myself too far.

Joe Milford Joseph Victor Milford was born in Alabama by the banks of the Chatahoochee River; after growing up in the south, he attended The University of West Georgia where he studied English and Philosophy. He then was accepted at The Iowa Writers' Workshop where he received his Master of Fine Arts in Poetry. His first collection of poetry, Cracked Altimeter, was published by BlazeVox Press in 2010. He is currently an English Professor for eCore and is working on his Doctorate in Education while also hosting The Joe Milford Poetry Show, on blogtalk radio, several times a month.