The Coyotes of Los Angeles County By Alan Semerdjian

spring from the invisible
hunger of all that’s hidden

outside of homes, these pairs
of sighs bright as angels’

wings, wild as wind on fire.
Two lovers walk their dog

to pass some time, daylight
heat lifting, mountain dreams

descending, the witching hour
of everything out of sight.

These are dangerous days.
The smoke from the Lake,

Saddle Ridge, Salt, and Creek,
Woolsey, Bobcat, tongues

of flame, the ghosts above
the hills sending everything

that lives down, down, down
to survive. The lovers hold

each other close. The dog
is barking, the smell of fear,

smoke still circling the mind,
licking the landscape drier.

The coyotes are here now, in
the corner of the parking lot

beneath where strangers line
the freeway, arms outstretched

looking hope in the eye, asking
not for forgiveness but why.

Alan Semerdjian is an Armenian-American writer, a musician, and an educator. Recent recognitions include a Pushcart nomination, a Frontier New Poets Award, poems in Poetry International, The Brooklyn Rail, and Fence (forthcoming), and a huge tweet from Kim Kardashian that made his 2020 spoken word album The Serpent and The Crane (with guitarist/composer Aram Bajakian) viral for a day.  Alan’s poem “The Writing About It Again” was part of a short, animated film (An Armenian Triptych: Retracing Our Steps, made in collaboration with Bajakian and artist Kevork Mourad) that was selected for and a finalist in several film festivals in 20212022. Pulitzer Prize winner Peter Balakian called his first full-length poetry collection, In the Architecture of Bone (GenPop Books, 2009), “well worth your reading.” Alan has been teaching English in public schools for the past twenty-five years while recording, releasing, and touring in support of several critically-acclaimed collections of music across a range of genres. He is on the advisory board for the International Armenian Literary Alliance, through which he founded and directs the Young Armenian Poets Awards.