The Warden & the coyote

The Warden & the Coyote
   from the conversation between my parents
   I eavesdropped as a child

My father loved his tiny office, his new world:

the old wooden desk,

the rickety chair; his new job as a warden;

low pay but better than the old job, police officer.

The solitariness, the pine trees, trees;
the meditating woods; the silence;
they mind their own business; don't bother 
to know what the new warden is like;
if he's square but sane and righteous guy.

One afternoon, returning to his office from
the routine work, checking round the woods, 
my father found a coyote in the chair,
with a smug smile. It resembled to the sly one
he'd seen at the old police station.
He winced at the dark memory; filthy 
as the frothy sea waves.

What are you doing here? He frowned.

Just checking on you. Coyote narrowed an eye,
still smiling. In this remote place, 
you could get killed and no one would know.

Ha. Why you care? Father stepped on the cigarette butt.
I know why you are here. He took a bill out of 
his pants pocket and toss it to the animal.

Go buy yourself a little bite and don't come back!

The coyote grabbed the crumpled bill, the warden's 
precious daily allowance, and jeered,
see you later, warden.

My father's eyes trailed the skunk between the trees.
In his mind, image of him drifted away in the red wind.
He shook his head; not this time.

(Note: in this poem, the coyote is used as a symbol of self-inviting, 
sly man who used his tactic to take people's money.)

©Byung A. Fallgren 

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