“Climb the broken stone stairs into the hills. / Climb them into the night’s throat.” (23)
This poem makes me think about the point of view of the speaker, one apparently from the point of view of a coyote. Likening the coyote cry to a lost woman evokes a sense of longing for company while maintaining the sense of fear induced by a coyote howl. Yet, I don’t find this coyote-speaker to be coming from a place of ill-intent.
Jones’ poetry in this collection balances a fine line between a sort of unity with the rest of the world and an incredible isolation from anything beyond the immediate self. (By immediate self I mean the self unencumbered by external social pressures—for Jones, these pressures often include his own family, unfamiliar lovers, or the heteronormative structures of society as a whole.) The lines “She needs you / like I need you” (23) sort of lead me to thinking about the hedgehog’s dilemma with a small caveat; rather than the hedgehog’s pricks keeping people from getting close, people’s own fear of the coyote prevent them from interacting with the coyote in the way that the coyote needs.
The effect of this point of view is that the poem is able to bring about a sense of identity with the feeling of being feared. These two lines (“Climb…”) in particular almost feel demanding from the speaker, pleading for the reader to face what unnerves them.