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Good Fences by Dana Sonnenschein

Good Fences Wolf Conservation Center, NY

by Dana Sonnenschein

published in Kosmos Journal

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall— I’ve seen the wolves here leap and climb chain-link and claw dirt down to buried steel and stone. But in this artificial wilderness with acres for each pack and roadkill deer shared out, no one fights for new turf or old. So those who might have died by bite and slash live long enough to watch neighbors raise pups beneath New England oak and hickory. The Rocky Mountain grays nap close beside the Arctic wolf’s enclosure, and red wolves from down south trot out when they hear his whine. He watches them tail-flirt and form a tie, and now and then flips sticks or leaves in the air when they lope past. The lobo who lost his mate play-bows then jumps and trots along the fence across from a red wolf, who does the same, ears perked. Lupine tai chi—no barks, no snarls, only the thump of paws and soft panting. Evolutionary. Like the way people changed enough to make this place, where wolves find peace and time to contemplate their kin and kind. Come any day to hear their call and response, one wolf setting off another, one pack another, one species another, one unbounded, communal howl echoing down rocky slopes to the road. Stand at the gate, look up and cup your hands around your mouth— Sing oh-ohoo. Let your note waver, rise, and fall. Sometimes they even answer you.

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