No Coyotes Harmed

Poppy inside 2
I like this journal Annie gave you. She said she got the thread from Betty, the Woman Who Weaves, who got it out in the desert from Grandmother Spider. One day I hope Betty will let me tag along with her when she goes out to gather thread. I have heard it is an experience I will never forget. Or else I will forget it immediately. Grandmother Spider is like that. Who knows, maybe I've already gone out and harvested thread and forgotten. Whoa! Hadn't thought of that before.

Anyway, I wanted to thank you for the lovely day spent at the Old Mermaids Sanctuary. I know you've all said that thank yous are not needed because we all live on this desert together. But I remember Sister Faye Mermaid telling Tulip once that it was just polite to thank the wind, the sun, the water, the earth, the birds, the cacti—to thank all the elements of life, thank them for their gifts, to express our love for them. So that is what I am doing: thanking the elemental Old Mermaids for all your gifts.

Tulip has not had another nightmare since she met you. She is convinced now that every night she falls to sleep and grows two tails and swims in the Old Sea with all of you. Two tails like Grandmother Yemaya Mermaid used to have, she says, glittery, like the tiny pebbles in the wash. Blue-green like Sissy Maggie's eyes. Or Sister Sheila Na-Giggles Mermaid's. Oops! I've forgotten. Ah well. Tulip remembers. (I'm talking a lot about forgetting and remembering, aren't I?)

Tulip remembers everything.

She remembers how the dirt in the wash feels on the soles of her feet.

She remember the sound Old Crow makes when he laughs.

She remembers the kiss of the wind on her cheek.

She remembers to open her mouth when she gets butterflies in her tummy so they can fly out.

She remembers what the trail looks like after desert faeries have been there, so she can track them through the wash as well as the Old Man of the Mountains can track the mountain goats up the east ridge.

And she remembers to breathe, breathe, breathe it all in.

You taught her that. I am only her mother who was lost for so long. Finding my way now and so grateful Tulip has had you all.

Did you hear her today at the Tea Shell? Billy Bad came in. You know how he kids around.

"Hello, darlin'," he says to Sister Ruby Rosarita Mermaid. "I think I'll try that Coyote Whispers tea with the soup. I love your soup, Sister Ruby. And I've always wondered what those coyotes were whispering about. After I drink this tea, will I know? You didn't hurt any of them yippin' canines none to get at their whispers now, did you?"

Before Sister Ruby Rosarita Mermaid could say anything, beefore Sister Sheila Na-Giggles Mermaid could slap Billy Bad on the back and ask him how he was doing and he could say, "How do you think? Ain't I the picture of grandeur?" Before all that, Tulip said, "No coyotes were harmed in the making of this tea."

Billy Bad put his head back and laughed. Sounded more like a howl, actually. A coyote howl. I think Billy Bad has finally revealed himself to be what we always suspected he was. Our beloved trickster.

Tulip danced around the Tea Shell. Around Billy Bad, actually. He stood still in the middle of the floor holding Tulip's hand as she danced. Kind of seemed like he was dancing with her. Like the desert was suddenly incarnate in him. And Tulip was...Tulip was Tulip.

She's calling to me now. I better go. Be back soon.

See you in Tulip's dreams.

And maybe my own.

In love and gratitude,


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