This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Erika Eckart, is from Love Songs from the End of the World by Katherine Riegel, released by The Mainstreet Rag in 2019.
The Wolves in Yellowstone
Last night my friend leaked tears at the bar
when she told me about someone’s father
dying of cancer. It was a dive
bar, but with arches and a vaulted ceiling
like a chapel. Sometimes courage
both shakes and grounds me: how hard it is to tell
our fears, our griefs. Like the land
alternately baking and freezing, as it has always done,
though faster now because of us.
My friend loves her father like an arrow,
like a boomerang thrown just right
every time. She loves him, I think,
like I loved my mother, who was my witness
and my book. I want to tell her about endurance
and recovery, like the story of the wolves
brought back to Yellowstone—how because of them
the forests came back, and the birds, and the fish,
and even the rivers. But I know
sometimes all we hear is the howling, eerie
and lonely as rain at night.