She was a coyote fighter, moving just
off the herd, across the high desert prairie.
Buying her calves time to get back to their
mothers, she stood her ground, mouth
gaping open, bellowing loud enough to
alarm a shy predator into slinking away.
Abandoned when her bold service
was no longer needed, the calves all
grown and passed on a decade ago.
The ranch parceled away leaving her
no ground to stand for; the last gelding
gone to children. Even her teeth have
expired leaving hollow jaw bones barely
disguised by coarse hair. She brings
nothing but her wits and old memories
to my small horse farm. Lost, she has
no way to be useful, she brays at house
dogs. She guards what her cloudy eyes
can make out of the horizon from inside
a woven field fence. Coyotes still lurk
behind tall weeds, testing her boundaries. Do
not doubt us, predator, as we turn to face you.
We have survived your kind and we know
our worth. We will always stand for our own.