Photography by LAURA VERHAEGHE

Back 40: Howling on the Moon

for Peacock

In the mud of the origin
of Hopeful Creek, we find
a paw print, wolf track,
big as my fist, size of

the male they found on
Deer Creek this spring —
a hundred seventy-nine
pounds. Plenty lions there,

too. A few years back
some hunter shot a grizzly
up Kelly Creek, said he
thought it was a black.

We come here for that,
to not cross any human
signs, save these old
roads dozed years ago.

We know the animals are
aware and don’t care about us
filling up on huckleberries
or creaking lodgepoles.

Woodpeckers, pine squirrels,
noisy crows knock chitter-
chattering to sensory overload,
swelling what we call heart.

On the way back we cross,
a huge pile of bear scat in
the trail — a fresh shat. No,
know we are not alone.

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