the coyote will never catch the roadrunner. / Despite the host
of fine gadgets ACME makes / for the predator on a budget—

long nights of planning / at the worktable, pencil riding
the ear, / sprawled paper scrawled with force vectors & doodles

of a certain bird cunningly fooled / by a superior intellect—
something always / goes wrong, doesn’t it? A faulty fuel valve,

mispacked parachute. A kink / in the cosmos that transmutes
a black circle into a hole / when dropped. Somehow,

our intrepid villain / is always caught with a stunned look once
the laws of physics (e.g. inertia, / gravity, etc.) reapply. Bye-bye!

The long fall. Puff of smoke at the bottom, packed / earth
cracking like crème brûlée. Close up, / we see his resignation,

the world-weary way / he peels himself out of his indentation
like a man long acquainted / with disaster, eyes bloody as a

drunk’s on a bender. Ah, yes, / the bottom. Welcome home!
Now, back to work: a new idea, / something foolproof, cleverer

than the standard trap or ambush, worthy / of his reputation
as a predator / of some intelligence & / breeding. Of course,

the next attempt will be met / with another ignoble end.
And the next, & the next, ad infinitum. / It's part of the resur-

rection narrative: each death / outlived by dumb luck or stupid
grace. / This slavish desire, children know, / is what it means

to be / grown up; why they welcome the roadrunner's disyllabic
taunts. He is small, / & vastly underrated. Fast & / self-assured &

always one step ahead of the coyote. A blur of improvisation
& pluck that even a disinterested universe loves without question. 



steve mueske

is an electronic musician and the author of a chapbook and two books of poetry. His poems have appeared in The Iowa ReviewCrazyhorseWater~Stone Review, Hotel Amerika, Poet Lore, The Massachusetts Review, Thrush, Redactions, Crab Orchard Review, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. A retrospective release of 28 songs will be released by Pink Dolphin Records in February, 2018.