Apology With Whales and Coyotes

Chelsea Wagenaar

Come listen to the coyotes, you say, your voice a smudge

of ash in the Iowa night. I hear the encroaching yips,  

the bellow of a frightened cow, though I do not admit this.

We agreed not to shout when we are angry. In the kingdom

of night are a thousand blown thresholds, crickets writhing

in grass, a scraggle of hairsplit wires. We agreed to speak softly

because of the whales. Because after 9/11 sea traffic ceased

and ships rusted and rocked in full ports, the ocean restored

to unexplored quiet. And scientists detected for the first time

a drop in whales’ stress-related hormones, because in the wake

of the din they could finally hear each other, which meant

they could find each other. Shh, the coyotes, the invisible

circle of hunger they make in a field not far from here.

A thousand and one thresholds, beloved, a scrap 

of bone in a ravaged field. Come back, I want to say, 

the ships are sinking, I am trying to find you.