Waiting for Wolves - Barbara Parchim

I long for night,
waiting for the wolves to arrive.

As their howls begin on the opposite shore,
the feeble light of our wilderness cabin
barely penetrates the surrounding blackness.
We crunch across crusted snow –
the interlopers –
to listen and shiver on the pier.

When the others return to the cabin,
I remain, goose-bumped and exhilarated,
listening until the last howl fades –
even a city girl knows this is a gift,
rare and transient and fragile.

For several years we return to the lake,
once in summer, once in winter,
and every year the wolves return,
as a reminder of who really belongs,
until – inevitably –
one year they don’t.

At the end of the pier
the silence of the missing is deafening.

Barbara Parchim lives on a small farm in southwest Oregon. She enjoys gardening and wilderness hiking and volunteered for several years at a wildlife rehabilitation facility caring for raptors and wolves. Her poems have appeared (or are forthcoming) in Ariel Chart, Jefferson Journal, Isacoustic, Turtle Island Quarterly, Windfall, Allegro Poetry, Trouvaille Review, Front Porch Review and others. Her first book has been selected by Flowstone Press to appear in 2021.