Some evenings when November shadows
begin to shrink, I hike the back loop
to observe movements of creatures
passing along the muddy trail.
Splayed devil’s club and
yellow cottonwood leaves
cover footfall of many travelers.
Maybe I’ll spy a mouse’s soft parade
of hieroglyphics, a marten’s furry
pod prints, brown bear tracks
that would not fit in a plate.
Just before I hear them,
several wolves have cut the trail.
I carry no side-arm, no medieval pike.
My only line of defense — a tenor shriek.
Once upon a time, Little Red Riding Hood
met Romeo. Later, his furry cousin
ambushed a Chihuahua on Lemon Creek Trail.
Seven years earlier, an hour and a half
before sunset, on the outskirts of Chignik Lake,
a pack took down a jogger.
I begin to backtrack for the cabin.
I realize fear is a vowel somewhere
in the howl of a wolf.
The pack moves with the wind.
• The Capital City Weekly accepts submissions of poetry, fiction and nonfiction for Writers’ Weir. To submit a piece for consideration, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.