These woods behind the house are home
to a coyote
that I haven’t seen but heard.
It wakens sleepers in the brain,
that yip that’s not a dog’s.
The dusk is sifting down,
blue powder like a medicine,
or bane, that, either way, we take.
And I am out
with Scarlet on reconnaissance.
This turf is hers,
she thinks, but something feral’s in
the shadows, large and ratchet-
limbed. This world is mine,
I think, but something wild and dark’s
inside: it’s pulsing, burning, deeper
than my heart, a thing
that I will leave for now.
I pull the leash to get us safely home—
but know that I must circle back,
To the Absent
That big blue spruce that’s flailing in the breeze
is like a shaggy bear, like me drunk at
a wedding dance: the singer’s voice is flat,
the band is shot, and I’m down on my knees
to grab my glasses, which have fallen off.
Still learning how to write these poems alone.
Last song, when Dylan said the heat pipes cough,
I did believe him. Now I hear the groan
of water trying to boil. I’m making tea
for someone sick who’d rather have a beer.
And night is falling fast, no stars to see
in all this overcast, so bedtime’s near.
The book I’m reading, though, is dull and lined
with mirrors. Please come back. I loathe my mind.
Letting the Monster Get Us
You’re sliding down the mountainside, your pick
won’t help you grip. . . . the monster gets
you every time, and bites you into bits.
You can’t remember you forget you crave
it every time. You’re eaten. You’re inside.
You’re loved. Perspective shift is all it is.
A fish’s eye that’s drying on the beach.
A God’s eye that she made at camp for Mom.
A blind eye that they cannot turn. The weak
“I” that the author hides behind, the un-
reliable that none of us escapes
for long. I know he knows I lust for it.
Because he knows I know he knows, I’m his.
Thomas Zimmerman teaches English, directs the Writing Center, and edits two literary magazines at Washtenaw Community College, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His chapbook In Stereo: Thirteen Sonnets and Some Fire Music appeared from The Camel Saloon Books on Blog in 2012. Tom's website: http://thomaszimmerman.wordpress.com/