The path beyond my garden
slick with rain, heavy falling,
weighing all down with greying
fur of a coyote blocking my way,
challenging my journey.
His fur, saturated by rainfall,
hangs in greying tendrils,
his soaked shadow bolstering
his foreboding visage.
His yellow eyes lock onto mine,
knowing them with a
“You fear me,” he said,
“even now, even still,
fearful they’ll know it all,
not just all the sobbing
– you’ve been a crybaby all your life,
yet you hide in plain sight – but you’re
fearful of revealing deeper shame.
“I was an uncooked shrimp
held by your father to
menace you at age five,
“You cowered from your unprepared dinner,
flummoxing and enraging your dad into
giving you something real to cry about.
“Your chest-piece was forged that day.
“Remember many years and
several armored fittings later when
I pushed you down with no one around to see?
“I recall your relief
at not having to look into
mother and brother’s eyes.
“You were glad you didn’t have to fight back.
“I don’t know how long
you’d have let me pummel you
before a child half your size
rushed in to defend your meekness.
“That’s when you rose and
gave me everything you had left,
knowing it wouldn’t be enough,
I guess it didn’t matter.
“I know your secret shame,”
said the weary coyote.
you would surrender
if there were no one around
to witness you quit.”
“You are a fool to think you know me,” I laughed.
“You are but a ratio of a shadow;
a trick of light and absence of color.
“It’s true I’ve always been soft and meek in a
world that’s too hard and brutal for my liking.
“But what you see in my loved one’s eyes as
pity and shame, I see as compassion and love.
“I don’t shy away from it;
I draw strength from it.
“And though my impenetrable exterior
may be a well-crafted illusion,
what lies beneath my meekness is
a ferocity I fear most.
“Yes, I would rather run away
or curl-up and take the hits,
but if they need me, then
I see things differently.”
“One day you’ll grow weary of
hiding your true self,”
snarled the coyote,
closing in on me.
“I already am, fool,” I retort.
“But this is who we are.
And now I am cold and wet.
End this foolishness,
and return to me.”
With that, the coyote leapt at me,
draping himself around my chest,
back, and shoulders.
Written for NaPoWriMo’s Day 1 prompt: write a poem that is based on a secret shame, or a secret pleasure. Obviously, I chose the former.