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©2018 Barren Magazine. An Alt.Lit Introspective.

Coyotes


by Jeannie Prinsen

It’s mid-morning when I walk the back road.
Sunlight speckles through the leafy branches,
its warmth burning the dew off ferns. And then
I hear the coyotes call from deep in the
forest, their yips blooming uncannily
into a chorus of howls and cries. Cold
floods my veins and pricks the back of my neck;
my pulse hastens. It feels as if nighttime
has invaded day – like when a solar
eclipse brings all the cows, bewildered and
disoriented, to the fence, though the
clock says milking’s hours away. The wrongness
of it is what makes me hurry back home,
where I remark in an offhanded way,
I guess that’s what they mean by “blood-curdling.”
Still, I know the coyotes are just calling
to gather their pack or warn another
off their territory, something they do
regardless of time of day. Whatever
inconsonance exists is within me:
I’m the one who fears the darkness, calls it
light’s enemy, thinks night and day opposed.
Yet shadow’s meaningless without the light,
and day and night segue smoothly, without
any fixed demarcation line. To see
all life as continuum and not as
antithesis is to release fear and
yield to flow. Creatures know by instinct what
takes me a lifetime to grasp – but maybe
there’s still time for my midnight and morning
voices to rise with equal, brave power.

Header photograph © Caroline Bardwell.

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