“THERE’S NO THROUGH TRAIL” —HAN-SHAN, TRANSLATED BY GARY SNYDER
/ Perfect Walker

Perfect Walker

by Rose DeMaris

“Coyote tracks show that their hind feet land in the same spots as their front feet…a trait called ‘perfect walking.’”

– Julia Vogel, Coyotes

Over jacaranda trumpets, through violet
               petal confetti smearing the L.A. street
you triumph toward the den, your violent
               night mission fulfilled, chihuahua meat

and cat blood ripening in your plush belly.
              You’ll resurrect them for the pups and bitch
waiting at the heart of your paved yellow-
              threaded territory; a painted running stitch 

holds this patchwork of black asphalt intact
              so you may roam, song dog, placing your hind
feet, as you stain the stucco housing tracts,
              precisely where your front have fallen. Blind

to this inborn form, your blithe ghost-grace, you weave
              your fine bone net: rabbit, lizard, fledgling, snake. Wholly
inhabited, your body manifests the perfection of heaven.
              Car lot. Koi pond. Mouse. Each corner, every death, holy.

Rose DeMaris

About Rose DeMaris

Rose DeMaris writes poems, novels, and essays. Her fiction and nonfiction have been published by Random House, The Millions, and Big Sky Journal. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, The Fourth River, Roanoke Review, Asymptote, Pine Row Press, and elsewhere. Prior to its debut in Cold Mountain Review, “Perfect Walker” was a finalist for the 2020 Orison Anthology Award in Poetry. Coyotes abound in the urban and suburban landscapes of Rose’s native Southern California. She’s inspired by nature, love, the divine, and the intersection of the three. rosedemaris.com

Cold Mountain Review is published once a year in the Department of English at Appalachian State University. Support from Appalachian’s Office of Academic Affairs and College of Arts and Sciences enables CMR’s learning and publications program. The views and opinions expressed in CMR do not necessarily reflect those of university trustees, administration, faculty, students, or staff.