the wolves that bind us


in a process known as trophic cascade,
the top predator in the food chain
maintains ideal conditions for abundant meals
and since they eat us all, everyone receives the benefit

wolves reintroduced to Yellowstone Park
changed the course of rivers and quickly solved
the problem of overgrazing and weakness among the elk
they became more wary moved to safer areas
and thrived in great numbers their streaming breath
stands out highlighted in the morning sun as though they respirate
their rippling strength their will to live straight from the sky

where the grass is no longer overgrazed it holds the soil
the riverbank widens and wanders while up its flank trees take root
once again the beavers move in licking their teeth with beaver anticipation
(they are much more humorous than any of you knew) dammed happy to start building

of course the wolves will eat us if they can, especially if we compete in their area,
or if they carry any memory of all the years we’ve claimed to own top spot
while calling them just dumb animals they might have to remind us
to use our intelligence wisely perhaps broaden our senses a bit and listen
but hear this: it is not too late to participate in the obvious; they are evidence of it

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 6/25/17

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