After three hours of X-Files the real coyotes howl and freak me out of bed. I snap shut my laptop, listen to the hundreds of coyotes I have driven past in cars, on school busses and scooters. Cracked and caved in, soaking into the roadside— those ones I held my breath for, those pelts my father collected. Like something too delicate to leave between the unforgiving weight of rubber and asphalt. They came into our home, grinning parcels. Not in parchment, but in trash bags and Saran wrap. Vacuum sealed, eyes still open, laughing or smiling or stuck panting last breath. We put them in the freezer. Six raccoons, four coyotes, in Wal-Mart bags beside my freezie-pops. I reached into the cold to touch snout, tooth or tail, pretended I was feeling for my favorite flavor. But fingering cold flesh, frozen fur, I stood rapt, stopped breathing. Pushing harder, bone pushed back— it is these poor bodies that find me in the city, cross freeways to become lost in Rock Creek Park. I am five blocks from the walking trails, twelve years from the freezer, and you are still the heir of all my terrors.
Two white boys sit slack jawed and stoned, wait in front of their webcam for tips. 250 to blow, 800 to cum. And the top three items on their Amazon wish list are a latex vagina, a $25 gift certificate to the Texas Roadhouse and a Frigidaire mini window unit. They look like something from a movie, you say, skinny and stupid in banana patterned pajama pants. As one falls over the other's lap a bell rings in the chat window. The subject of the room is changed, a new goal is reached, DanAm throws in a 50.
The tortoise and the finch: you crawl the aisles of a Pet Supermarket in the mountains of North Carolina with an empty box in your arms. A goldfinch has escaped into the rafters of the industrial ceiling and you are being paid $7.25/hr to pretend to try and catch it.
The longest living creature on this planet is a dog's cancer.
By late November the ginko trees were trying to prove a point. All fall at once— a golden shower across the lawns of a newly gentrified block. Young white mothers looked forward to the seasonal display but three days past Thanksgiving and the trees still stand stubborn and full. The next night, however, the block is awoken to the sound of rushing water, the smell of long held urine.
Go to the woods and touch yourself to GameBoy music— it's Pallet Town, your father isn't there and you are so optimistic. It isn't your fault you get this way. The road ahead, the Chansey pink joy of it all. You haven't met a Snorlax yet, but you know how the weight of his rump feels coming down on your face. You've never caught a Vileplume but you know how your hands move over its fleshy petals, how you unfurl in the stench and bury your mouth in it's open center—pollen dipped chin, dripping orange with life. Of course, you don't have words for this yet, not yet. You are not a child, barely even a body. There is something different, round and secret. In the trees behind your parents' house, more than anything, you are sure.
Robert Reid Drake is soft butch, pansy poet currently living in Washington, DC. He is a former host & curator of Juniper Bends, a free & femme-centric reading series in Asheville, NC. He is a graduate of UNC Asheville and his work has appeared in Assaracus, The Birds We Piled Loosely, and Crab Fat Magazine, as well as the collaborative zine, Doing It Mostly Wrong. On the internet he is sweet, sweet, sweeterthanspit.
Read Robert's first set of poems published on Wussy Mag, here.