Coyote Bush by Penelope Moffet

Coyote Bush

In the field also known as lawn
in front of the suburban house
I grew all manner of things
to the neighbors’ dismay –
cilantro near the curb, sage
and buckwheat and woolly blue curls
in the planter near the house,
creeping boobialla on the main lawn.
Near the sidewalk a coyote bush
formed a rising mound
about the length and shape
of a human grave.

The house was worn,
wood peeling from the front door.
A Mountain Ash
clung to the foundation,
threatened to fall over,
but the front yard glowed in spring:
lavender’s purple fingers,
woolly blue curls,
a volunteer wild rose,
creamy buckwheat flowers,
white whirls of black sage.

Indoors we moved like ghosts
through dim coolness.
I was more and more outside.
Whose body nourished
the coyote bush, what
dream was buried there?


Penelope Moffet is the author of three chapbooks, most recently Cauldron of Hisses (Arroyo Seco Press, 2022). Her poems have been published in One Art, Natural Bridge, Permafrost, One by Jacar Press, Gleam, The Rise Up Review, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, The Ekphrastic Review, Gyroscope and other literary journals. She has been the recipient of fellowships at Dorland Mountain Arts, The Mesa Refuge, The Helen R. Whiteley Center and Alderworks Alaska. She lives in Southern California.