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I was walking down the stairs

late last night

when a coyote,

shrouded in leafy shadows,

punctured the nighttime quietude

with a single, startling howl.

Then, the rest of the pack joined in

with shrieking howls and ravaging barks.

A kamikaze of ghoulish noise

tore into the silence and shredded it.

Little did they know they had jolted me

into wide-eyed awe and frozen fright.

Their raucous revelry reverberated within me

as well as crowded around me.

Dark sounds pressing in

and through.

They came and went

as quickly as the thundering force

of a summertime storm

silence returned

mended and seamless.

I was still standing there

upon the steps

electrified and breathless

legs wobbling, left hand hooked

around the chilled, black banister.

Smiling and savoring the taste

of their undaunted wild ways

like a mouthful of sunshine

melting toffee upon my tongue.

- Lauren Taub Cohen


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