Coyote, with Mange

By Mark Wunderlich b. 1968 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 (March 2009).

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This poem originally appeared in the March 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

March 2009
 Mark  Wunderlich

Biography

Mark Wunderlich’s collections of poetry include The Anchorage (1999), winner of the Lambda Literary Award, and Voluntary Servitude (2004). As J.D. McClatchy said of Wunderlich’s debut, “The Anchorage bravely takes up the raw mess of desire and pain, the cold ache of longing and loss, and in sleek and searing poems exposes the way we live now to the larger powers of the racing heart and the radiant imagination.” Wunderlich’s . . .

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Poems by Mark Wunderlich

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals, Animals, Religion, Faith & Doubt, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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