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.