Natural History

Toeing the metal marker drilled in granite, naked granite

        over glacial valley, granite scarred by glacial retreat, know

such summits likely formed by fire, farmers riled up by wolves

        that pilfered meat and wool, torches brandished, the plan

to smoke the poachers out, kill however many survived. The fires

        burned for nights, incinerated even soil, scorched the rock

sterile. Now picture the storms: rain and snow would river down

        the slope, erode the lower meadows, the famished sheep sold off

cheap, barns collapsing, clapboard houses collapsing

        into their cellars, simple­marked graves and cellar holes

all that remain in the valley, haven a wolf might make

        its home if any wolves remained to haunt this hunted land.