The Ones You Love
People you love
build a small house for you,
cover the dirt floor with hay,
hook a long chain to the cowhide
that circles your throat,
fix the chain to a stake in their yard.
In the day, the cut grasses hear you howl;
at night, they make a nest for your body.
You go nowhere.
You could lie down and die,
but someone wants you kept alive,
a cheap security system.
Years of this and then one full-moon night,
suddenly you hear them —
the motley wolf-coyote clan.
from the far side of the creek,
and you’re answering.
Break the chain, they say,
and you do.
– Harriet Ann Ellenberger, October 2014