Eli Coyle

I haven’t left the house in a week
Winter is peeling open the insides
Of death and love
Two gifts left unopened

I ease eastward against the east slope of the Sierra
Shrouded in a million imaginary birds
Fifty dogs in the dog park
The playground left vacant
Five hundred kids on Zoom
Walking north, slight west
Towards the pine tree broken
Its spirit wished to be deciduous
Naked and unnerved
In the canopies of ganglia
Against the sky
Of an abandoned sand pit
Could be a mandala pit
The path that takes me home
Is stamped in dog pad prints
Footprints in the mud
Remnants that remind us we are here
I pass a fleet of ducks on a floating mirror
The males are prettier, emerald heads
Silver white, black streaked
Cornmeal beaks
The females have feathers
Of tan sand and onyx 

In the hour that remains
Of all signs pointing outward 

To everything else on the periphery
Dying, beneath the half white winter moon

I walk a million incarnations in the seconds
That find no pastors in the pasture
The fences are white picketed paradises
The orioles have bellies of rusted cast iron
The scrub jays, my eternal enemies
Screech from the trees
Beyond the pond muck
Littering snow and cattails
Corn dogs and duck calls in winter
The meadowlarks have centers
Of chamomile and old wood
The goldfinches are wrist watches
The hummingbirds needle nose
Into flowers almost dead

I haven’t left the house in a week
Light snowfall and negative ions
Fall inward through the breath
That passes the poet meetup

But no poets, in the hour
Without end

A window is only a window
When stepped away from

About the Author

Eli Coyle received his MA in English from California State University, Chico, and is currently a MFA candidate at the University of Nevada, Reno. His poetry has recently been published or is forthcoming in: Barely South Review, New York Quarterly, Caustic Frolic, Tule Review, Camas, the Cosumnes River Journal, Deep Wild, the Helix, and elsewhere.