I had forgotten for so long why I sang,
so many, my song turned into tumbled
bedsheets, bodies strewn,
nectar of a kiss overdone.
The lonely hoot low and languished,
I loved, My Love, I loved strong
and solid, the hollow notes,
the lonesome bones.
Crow, she came and whispered in my ear,
said your song is lovely dear,
take a feather from my wing, we beat
somewhat the same.
But the song, it was the same,
beneath the shadow of the bat, as
the love of a man
I nearly slew.
When she would call, month’s later
the chiming at my ear, o’ my heart
my little heart,
I heard her and she was me,
and I, without us, her little
black wings, my greedy perch, months
I’d call back, filter through the poems
I hear your notes in me.
Some nights she whispered love stories
of a girl, small-handed
across the mountains, a candid song
of love and loss
and loving loss, that which learns
to rumble after. She wrote of you,
far across, the distance
a somber color.
O, I listened to her song and did not believe,
the days yet unbroken in
the singing, love marching
on. The plow, the grain,
the rainmaker’s songs, You
yet a thing of myth,
the trickster, great lover.
Coyote, I confess, I pressed my ear
to your poems and quieted,
the raven drawn by a curious
gleaming in the dark,
I decided to taste the water of your pool
learned what would rip
Moon from Sun, asunder-
the depth of the heart-howl,
the handsome song of seeking,
the fieriest love, the
your song, the ever changing ballad.
Before you: the mimicked hoot,
the sweet finch trill, no-
I could not sing the truest notes
before I heard you howl.
Originally published at Yorick Magazine. “Before you Howled” is the first part of a three-part poem.