A Story of Hands

By Paul Willis

Our hands, say the Chumash,
were supposed to be coyote paws.

Coyote had won the argument
of who would provide that part of us.

At the last second, lizard,
who had been very quiet,

reached out to touch the white
stone of our creation in the sky

and left his print. That’s why
our hands are lizard hands.

That’s why lizard keeps diving
down into cracks in the rock.

Coyote is still wanting
to get his paws on him.

Paul Willis has published six collections of poetry, the most recent of which is Little Rhymes for Lowly Plants (White Violet Press). His latest book is a YA Elizabethan time-travel novel, All in a Garden Green (Slant). He is a professor of English at Westmont College and a former poet laureate of Santa Barbara. Also by this poet: "A Very Little Thing" and "Golden"