by Michelle Barker

My dog heard them one night, woke me with her barking, and me with my human ears I could only curse her tendency to bark at nothing, curse her insomnia and midnight agitation.

Coyotes, she urged me with wild eyes. Come out! Come see! I locked her in her cage and went to bed.

But the next night out for a walk with my son the sound came towards me in gusts like a howling enchanted wind, crying children, wild merrymakers.

Listen, I said to him. Coyotes! Ignoring the look of Took you long enough on my dog’s face.

I could imagine the pack of them in a clearing in the forest yellow eyes aglow coats silvery in the moonlight dirt cool and soft beneath their paws the little ones yipping Please, can we play with the ball in the sky please can we please

and the moans of the elders who already knew this bright ball of mystery would never be theirs.

Michelle Barker's poetry has been published in Descant, Room (of One's Own), The Mitre, Cicada, and Cahoots Magazine. In 2002 she won a National Magazine Award for her creative non-fiction work. She lives in the Eastern Townships with her husband, children, and an assortment of horses, dogs and cats.