“The fossils preserved in the Rancho La Brea ‘tar’ seeps in southern California […] provide a rare opportunity to [study coyotes] over the past 50,000 years, an interval that included profound climate change, the arrival of humans, and megafaunal extinctions.” Current Biology 2019.

Chuff! Do not confuse me with a massive wolf or abbreviated dog; –me– in my scary eyeliner and immaculate ruff. You know my tai-chi move of layback and disappear. When your first swallowed the land; my mammoth-sized mouth crimped for crumbs. My body compressed to quick. As we prospered, you hailed me –Coyōtl, Trickster, God—

Now the land consumes us both. I excrete delicately across your path; a white scat of resignation, pelleted and painful, with moth wings and three whole acorns. Still dignified, I eat one chicken in your cage of four. But we shriek our grief when a son does not come home and your speedy track pounds him to a red greasy smear.

My long-rise wail seeks the shimmering beacon of song –family howls, youngster yips and pup-stop barks– even the animal hairs on your arm rise to our call. Sheltered, I am free to mutter, rub the plush of my mate, inhale the dust, reek and oil of her. My scat of plenty is a shiny, black word, elongated in bone fragments and blood-tar. Lightened and hardened, I am a spear thrown at tomorrow. Leap forward with me or perish.

The Mexican city of Teotihuacan did not survive extreme weather 1500 years ago, though the remains of “455 coyotes fattened on maize” lie in east-west tunnels, “with the mission of accompanying the sun” in its progression. UNESCO World Heritage Site.