Desert Creatures in Their Bones

By Jennifer Crow

for Anne

Coyote sings to Raven, his voice echoing

Off the moon’s cold silver rim, his nose lifted

To the stars. The night tastes like creosote smoke,

Like petrichor, or sweat drying on sunburned skin.

Raven sways on a branch, the sword of his beak

Darting to catch an insect winging through the darkness.

In their bones, all the desert creatures feel this music.

In their bones, desert creatures hear the song of creation.

This is the rain for which they’ve waited.

This note laying down a map on stone,

That note folding mountains out of flat dry ground.

Clouds build on the horizon, lightning flickers

Like a snake’s tongue across the sky.

The stars vanish, the moon shrouds herself in storm

And thunder repeats Coyote’s song in a voice so deep

Every living thing bends to it.

Even a trickster needs shelter from storms,

But the song goes on, coiling out of a cave mouth

And dancing with the wind. The song,

Like time’s sharp edge, cutting water, carving stone


Jennifer Crow‘s poetry has appeared in a number of print electronic venues over the years, most recently in Heroic Fantasy Quarterly and Star*Line. You can find her on Twitter @writerjencrow, or on Patreon creating new poems and essays for her patrons.