Cleo Maloney, Field II, 2019. Oil on board. 6” x 8”

Arguably, this is Coyote’s place—

he wouldn’t admit it even if you asked.

He’s got no deed

dotted with age and spilled tea.

His house is rotten logs bound together

with mud-full mortar,

lumpish, dusty, loved furniture. 


I ran into Coyote once,

when the hunting party lost hours,

dogs lost in looming trees,

lost in fog that coated our lashes.

These sticky lashes, these marvelous curtains,

opened to the clearing,

more open sky than open ground. 


Coyote seemed to be waiting.

Not a man of so much speaking,

his hand— sinewy, tired, coping—

extended to my side,

my hand becoming a child’s, soft and unworked,

in his, rough.


He invited us,

the hunting dog and me,

into the parlor. The old dog,

streaked with grey like Coyote,

cracked stale tea cookie

against his molars.

Crumbs littered a fray-edged rug while

Coyote brewed peppermint tea.


The old dog knew when

Coyote was gone—

rotten logs fell to dust,

furniture unloved,

tea moldy, unfinished in the parlor.


As if lost on purpose, 

the dog, greyer, greyer, greyer,

returned to watch guard

as the house became

home to beetle and bug.

And still, he lay there in grieving

until a goodbye to both

built a sooty altar of bones

where Coyote’s place once was.

Idone Rhodes is a junior in Pierson majoring in English and Film and Media Studies. She will be writing a regular film column for WKND. Rhodes was formerly a managing editor of the Yale Daily News Magazine.