Quarter to Midnight
No one is awake
when the coyotes take up howling
on the next hill north, or maybe the next,
it’s hard to tell in this frigid air,
minute ice crystals hovering around the humpback
moon transmitting sound farther
than the towering thunderheads of summer.
I say no one is awake
but what I really mean is no other human,
for certainly the trio of coyotes are awake,
the lead singer sliding up the scale,
the second and then the third joining the fugue.
Also the mouse scurrying back and forth
under the snow-capped hummocks,
the barred owl coasting away from a dead
snag, the gray tabby greeting me at the door
but not stepping out, the ghost
spider climbing along the edge
of the lampshade as I turn the light
back on to write these words
before they slip away
into the ebb and flow of silence,
which never sleeps.