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By Mark Wunderlich

Oh, Unreadable One, why   

have you done this to your dumb creature?   

Why have you chosen to punish the coyote   


rummaging for chicken bones in the dung heap,   

shucked the fur from his tail   

and fashioned it into a scabby cane?   


Why have you denuded his face,   

tufted it, so that when he turns he looks   

like a slow child unhinging his face in a smile?   


The coyote shambles, crow-hops, keeps his head low,   

and without fur, his now visible pizzle   

is a sad red protuberance,   


his hind legs the backward image   

of a bandy-legged grandfather, stripped.   

Why have you unhoused this wretch   


from his one aesthetic virtue,   

taken from him that which kept him   

from burning in the sun like a man?   


Why have you pushed him from his world into mine,   

stopped him there and turned his ear   

toward my warning shout?


Source: Poetry (February 2009)

Poet Bio

Mark Wunderlich’s poems engage themes of sexuality, spirituality, and power, balancing a baroque attention to detail with driving movement. He has taught writing at Sarah Lawrence College, San Francisco State University, and Bennington College. He lives in New York’s Hudson River Valley.

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