The Ballad of the
Central Park Coyote
The moon hung thick and creamy in the cool Manhattan
The uptown streets lay dreamy in the subtle lemon light.
concrete canyons echoed to a most un-urban bark:
a lone coyote’d somehow
found its way to Central Park.
Did you swim the Harlem River? Cross the
Henry Hudson Bridge?
Did you wander down from Westchester, from forest or
Were you pushed out by construction? Were you following a
Were you here to go out on the town—a New York trip well
Soon reports came pouring in—some joggers caught a peep.
seen near the Sheep Meadow (some decades late for sheep).
From the beat of
Spanish Harlem down to Midtown’s glitzy bounds,
through lawn and bush and
bramble, our coyote made its rounds.
The Mayor and the Parks Commish both
started in to fret—
“We can’t have that thing out there, it might eat
They swung right into action, and quickly set their
they rounded up a posse: rangers, marksmen, vets, and
They found it in a stretch of wood where it had tried to
it led them on a merry chase across the park’s south side.
the critter cornered by the lake near Woolman Rink.
They shot it with a
sedative; it jumped into the drink.
It swam, then ran a dozen blocks,
policemen on its tail.
As it approached the Bandshell, its strength began to
When it collapsed, they hauled it off to meet its newest fate:
stop at the Bronx Zoo, then a release somewhere upstate.
tourist, you had your taste of fame.
The Central Park Coyote: all New Yorkers
know your name.
Were you a trickster spirit, come to claim your rangelands
Were you a lone explorer—or a vanguard of the pack?
Published in Tucumcari Literary Review