Writers’ Weir: Unmitigated Fear

A poem submitted by reader Jack Campbell.

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 editor@capweek.com.

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