She was a coyote fighter, moving just
off the herd, across the high desert prairie.
Buying her calves time to get back to their
mothers, she stood her ground, mouth
gaping open, bellowing loud enough to
alarm a shy predator into slinking away.
No one wants to be called out with such
blunt confidence. But the calves have all
grown and passed on a decade ago. The
ranch was parceled away leaving her
no ground to stand for; the last gelding
gone for children. Even her teeth have
expired leaving hollow jaw bones barely
disguised by coarse hair. She brings an
abiding wealth of survival wisdom along
to my small stretch of farm but she has
no way to be useful, so now she brays at
house dogs. She guards what her cloudy
eyes can make out of the horizon from
inside a woven field fence. Coyotes still lurk
behind tall weeds, testing her boundaries. Do
not doubt us, predator, as we turn to face you.
We have survived your kind and we know
our worth. We will always stand for our own.