Coyotes at Midnight

Coyotes at Midnight

We’d almost forgotten the coyotes
once we’d left the old land, the old house,
as the city drew nearer, filling in the fields,
fashionable curving roadways
splaying their asphalt tentacles,
flatbed trucks bearing house kits
for cranes to unload and piece together
before others arrived with rolled-up lawns,
burlap-balled trees and shrubs,
plastic mailboxes planted beside driveways.

Then at night beneath a butterfat moon
the coyote song cut the darkness off to the east
where the pack must have paralleled 112th,
loping, preferring to the dusty gravel
the drygrass pathways, the illusory privacy
of scrub vegetation and sumac copses
in this sparser-settled place, this refuge
where feral cats and possums come by night
to search and snuffle in the sheltering dark.

The voices hang, sinuous, in the still air
beneath a sky set with stars and passing aircraft
on their way to places free of open land
where the night is filled with lights and cars,
with people who would never think
to listen for this high song
or know it even if they heard.