#102: Coyote and the First Pregnancy


Day two of National Poetry Writing Month, again, following the prompt from the napowrimo website: write a poem inspired by a non-greco-roman myth.  There’s been too many poems inspired by the Greco-Romans–so let’s diversify a little.  I give thanks and most of the credit for the following to Jarold Ramsey, who’s monumentally important book Coyote Was Going There taught me everything I know about the mythology of Oregon Indian Literature.

Coyote and the First Pregnancy

Once there was a man
turning summersaults
with a bundle of firewood
between his knees
and Coyote came along
and said, Dude,
that’s not how you move
wood. Let me show
you how it’s done.
And Coyote helped
the man carry the wood
home. The man’s wife
was in the house and
she was moaning and
holding her thumb in
the air. Coyote said,
what’s wrong with your
wife? And the man said,
She’s pregnant, duh.
And Coyote said, Are
you out of your mind?
Let me look at that
thumb. Coyote looked
at the thumb and said,
She’s got a sliver in
there and it’s infected.
And Coyote took a
sterilized needle and
popped that blister
and released all the
nasty puss and removed
the sliver. Pregnant?
That’s not how babies
are made or born,
Coyote said. And,
then, in his benevolence
and good will toward
others, he said to the
man and to the woman,
Let me show you how
it’s done. And that
Coyote made a baby
for that man and woman
and in his generosity
even allowed them to
keep the child as their
very own, owing nothing
to Coyote but their
gratitude for his kindness
and awe at his prowess
in the sack.  The man,
though, was mostly just
grateful, because now
he and his wife could
make more people
and run less risk bringing
in wood for the fire.


Published by michaeljarmer

I'm a public high school English teacher, fiction writer, poet, and musician in Portland, Oregon

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