Why Do Coyotes Howl at Night?
by Colen Sweeten
Listen to Poem
Why do coyotes howl at night?
I used to ponder on that question.
Then I talked it over with a cowboy
Who offered a suggestion.
So I went at sundown to the foothills
Where coyotes are known to roam.
And I spread my bed on the watershed
Next door to the coyote’s home.
A heavy quiet ruled the night.
I soon felt small and strange.
The silence almost smothered me
Out there on the open range.
The new moon didn’t linger.
It was so cold and pale.
It looked like a tiny crescent
Cut from someone’s fingernail.
The stars were oh, so far away.
I watched the dipper turn around.
It poured a cup of loneliness
That covered all the ground.
Dawn was still a sliver of light
And the day had just begun;
Came the coyote’s call from the canyon wall
My adrenaline started to run.
It’s hard to explain why coyotes howl
From the rim-rock, high on a shelf.
But I know, once long ago
I felt like that myself.
© Colen H. Sweeten, Jr.