A Coyote Named Jeff

Here in one of terminal C's rocking chairs
I'm supposed to be more comfortable
in the misery of beefed up security but
this morning I'm reminded of how horse
ranchers keep donkeys to calm the herd
and scare off coyotes and cougars though
the cheap animal may get snagged and
shredded it won't be without heinous brays
sharp kicks and stomps and even if the ass
falls he still slings his weight around
from the dumb loyalty for every other
hoofed animal in the field and isn't that
better than losing a thoroughbred colt or
your dogs which are so eager to run out
to a swarm of yipping coyotes in heat
but in life there are few warnings no
shrieks in the night and most often I find
myself in the big metaphorical quicksand
of uncertainty because that sunk feeling
in my chest is the most identifiable form
of truth and suddenly the terminal floods
with people from the flight I'm set to board
and I realize none of us are thorough-
breds in a place where everyone must be
a sheep and the airline rep announces
that TSA has to check boarding passes and
IDs a second time but this guy in a bright blue
shirt and his oh-so-shiny badge struts by and
he's a gangly coyote dressed like a donkey
with a nametag that says Jeff and not one
of us feels safe not one as each slip of paper
gets his nod of suspicion saying we may not be
headed the right way

A Town With No Voices

That year nobody came for the leaves
and after the wind blew them into piles
they caught fire and not only trees and
fences charred in the autumn drought
but more than a dozen cars and three
houses on South Main alone got lost in
the fire's music which sucked the words
right from the firefighters' mouths and
the words from their wives' mouths and
silence spread that way until the news
anchor texted-in sick and people shuffled
through the grocery store aisles and
even the preacher after a series of wild
hand gestures gave in to the piano then
the choir on the risers failed at their songs
though their breathing kept coming
measured and in unison

Taylor Collier recently moved from Syracuse to Tallahassee. Work has appeared or is forthcoming in places such as American Poetry Journal, The Minnesota Review, The Normal School, Washington Square, and others.