Coyote's Blues

by Tala Eirsdottir

Soft as floured skin, thigh-long thinnings of wear, seat scraped down to something almost imaginary: pollen on a breeze. Pockets, once, now wing-shine blue where the fade-water never swirled, and holed through like an old river-rock. Not so tough, not so tough as all that; double-stitched but still all fluff at heart, and wailing the thrift-store denim blues, cotton, cotton-tailed periwinkle thrift-store denim blues.

He's just a kid, thinks he knows, thinks the thin and the fade of his drawn-out denim blues will keep him safe, but that's ragged fur for a cold night, and the wind's coming down, long and mean, all chrome-shine and neon, a ghost wind in the slippery, sand-shake hiss of night.

Fingertips whorled, etched with the grey grain of growing up twilight-pale, a silhouette, a shadow, cotton-ripple soft as buttered water, hunger the only fat thing under a sky that'll bite your ankles if it catches you. He's got old fingers, old eyes, old cotton gone periwinkle blue; he's just a kid, loose-jawed and scrub-brushed, and he'll steal your heart while he carries your groceries home, Grandma. Not a wolf, nothing so formal.

Catch the claw-click, the ear-flick, watch the long weave and the sharp snap and the soft, soft cottony tail where the shadows are all dustbins and cactus — Coyote's brought the blues back tonight, the soft blues, the wailing periwinkle blues; he's back in town tonight, and he's just, he's just a kid.

Tala Eirsdottir sprouted in the dry heat of Los Angeles, and synthesized both photos and language in the sharp light of the Mojave desert and the Pacific Ocean. These days, she's rooted in a pocket canyon on part of what was once the "Rancho Carne Humana," at the top of the Napa Valley, and studies graphic design to keep herself into mischief. She's always been a looker-under, a just-a-little-closer-getter, a stealthy-tongue-tip-toucher. She likes to poke stuff. She plays a lot, especially with ink. She likes her goblins scruffy, her magic well-worn, and her fruit deceptively simple: apples are her favorite. This is her first published piece.

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