My brother died last April and in May my sister and I received an unexpected invitation from his neighbor to accompany him to Wolf Haven. The unspoken intent was to pay tribute to George. This poem emerged from my longing for connection. I often encounter those who have passed in various ways. This was by far the most powerful.
The Holy Howl
On May eighteenth
before spring had taken hold,
we encountered the freshly transitioned spirit of our brother
in the haunting howl of twelve wolves
at Wolf Haven Sanctuary.
Once abused, abandoned or old,
now they pace, paw and hunt safely with a new pack.
George had loved these wolves
because they were the ancestors
of his beloved Siberian Husky Zane.
A self-designated member of Zane’s pack,
George would wrestle on the floor with Zane
and howl “JingleBells” in unison with the Husky.
We came to Wolf Haven to honor our brother.
We ambled in a tight circle
pausing at each of the six enclosures
to meet the pacing pair that called it home
and to hear the story of their journey to Wolf Haven.
Arriving back at the entrance we stopped
to listen to the guide’s closing remarks.
Eerily silent throughout the tour, now
a lone wolf lifted its head and let lose
a magnificent primal howl,
stopping the guide in mid-sentence.
An expectant silence ensued,
shattered soon by a raucous chorus
as the whole pack joined in.
They split the mythical veil
that separates here from hereafter.
We met our brother in the holy howl.
Rest in peace, George.
© Rita H Kowats 9-23-19
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