We surprise a small, skinny coyote
as the dogs and I appear from the wash
not far from where she’s also rising from a small ravine.
She sees us first
and tries to make a slow, low retreat
into the scrub oak and pine,
when I see her
Holding tight to the leashes
I quietly greet the startled creature
who, instead of fleeing, pauses as well.
The dogs, now aware, wrench my arms,
but I hold on,
smiling silently at the brazen thing almost within reach,
yet standing so still.
And there, we all stare.
Hoping to suggest it best we all part,
I turn from our convergence
and the coyote agrees,
moving away, but in a similar direction.
She pauses for a final look between a gap in the growth,
as if to remember our constrained and quiet trio,
before her shabby, honey-colored hide
slinks over the next ridge
And the dogs and I,
ignoring my instinct to go home,
turn left instead.