Coyotes in their natural habitat


a haibun about siblings

The term ‘lone wolf’ is a misnomer. It is coyotes that rarely run in packs, and often hunt alone, around the clock. Yesterday I spoke to my brother on the telephone. He is older than I, and I have always looked to up to him, even when the facts told me not to. It was something that became part of me when I was a child. We were both abused by our father, and our mother loved us, but she did not defend us. Some would say that is not real love, but time and age have brought me to an understanding of different kinds of love, and people’s limitations, even our parents, whom we expect the most from. But that is not what I wanted to talk about. I wanted to talk about a connection between siblings who have been through the war together. A love that remains even after failing one another countless times. I have a vivid memory of my big brother cowering from a strike and protecting his head at sixteen. Ever since, I have seen the soft part of him inside, the part that gets angry but never fights back. Fight or flight? Could it be that simple as an explanation of why he is nearly sixty and still running away? He was taller and stronger but he never fought back.

I think on these things but not for long. Like him, I am choosing to look towards what remains of our future. I am the only one left in the family that is listening to his stories, and asks for more. I want to know what happened the first time he left home when he was seventeen and I was fourteen, the year Elvis died. Two losses that year. Did he miss me too–I want to ask–but I never do. He was my only buffer between myself and the parental bubble, and he is correct, I suppose, when I call him my hero, and he says that he was no hero. He did what he had to do for himself. When I had the strength to run, I ran too. But in my memory he will remain that way, just as now, the one that had the least to give and still let me in. He was grumpy but he wasn’t cruel. He is difficult and still scares me when he is out there roaming with no place to live and only so many dollars. I want him to settle down so I won’t be anxious. He will tell me not to worry, but that also was part of our picture, to continue watching the window for sight of him returning home.

you will not be tamed
time flies and you still run wild
tree canopy roof


19 thoughts on “Coyotes in their natural habitat

  1. I know of such stories – but not in my own life, and I am glad for that. Life throws too many things at us. For it to start at home is just not right. I see troubles in later life that have their root in a youth that should be guarded from such things. I imagine that while in such a situation, self-preservation is prime. As tenuous as this piece makes things seem, I would guess that the love you have for your brother is something he values.

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  2. From my experience siblings in general – my two sisters and a brother as well as my my three sons – have differences because we were allowed by our parents to be different. Things were tough between me and my sisters for years. Now that we are all over 70 we value each other. My sons still have issues.

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