In dreams, the fine line between
Coyote and canine is far from fearsome.
The dangerous, the domesticated
Hardly distinguishable: fur, fangs,
Pet, petrifying, I move among them.
In my sleep, I’m awake
To no difference boys and beasts.
But once my eyelids snap open like cheap blinds,
I’m made painfully aware,
At a trailhead, at winter’s cold core,
Of my own dogs, all puffed up but ultimately defenseless.
The pair are startled by the shrill barks
Then by the largest among them.
They see what was never really far-off
Some adversary, some ancestor
Skulking, lip raised, by the tree line
Flashing that purple streak of meanness.