Mongo Listening to the Wolves in Yellowstone

Why does it bother you, to hear them
call to one another in the aspens?
What do you hear, domestic sentry,
in the sounds of these creatures of the night
that makes you want to guard the tent?

Surely you recognize your cousins’ voices,
cackling in an ancient dialect
whose meaning floods your spine
making your scruff rise up in golden wires—
of course they know you’re here, city-boy.

Still you stand flap-watching, resolute.
Your lantern shadow curls open its mouth
on the polyester wall, wider than you,
revealing canines growing sharper
as your ears rise into keener points.

Retriever, what would you retrieve?
You paw the zipper to go outside
where primal landscapes and forms
stir in you a need to throw back your head
and let out a noise that makes me jump.

—Bradley Allf

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