Dan Guenther is the author of four novels and a regular contributor to this blog. His most recent novel, Glossy Black Cockatoos, is the 2010 Colorado Authors’ League award selection for genre fiction and his collection of selected poems, The Crooked Truth, is their 2011 poetry award winner. Dan’s third novel, Townsend’s Solitaire, is set in Yellowstone National Park in the early ’80s, and tells a story that draws upon the legend of the rogue Grizzly Number 15. Dan says, “From 1980 to 1983, I had the good fortune to work for the Rocky Mountain Region, National Park Service. My role as the Regional Training Officer took me to 42 sites in 6 states, including Yellowstone, Glacier, and Rocky Mountain National Parks. I remember well when the first Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf was confirmed in Glacier National Park, crossing the border down from Canada.” Wildlife photographer Jimmy Jones dubbed 832F the most famous wolf in the world.
Elegy for Yellowstone’s 832F
By Dan Guenther
Tonight a rainy weather change comes in and we lie sleepless,
our thoughts drifting back to that single wolf in the news,
the one killed a mile outside the park boundary,
an alpha female called the most famous in the world.
Those who count elk for a living say the wolves are now increasing
that 832F was the granddaughter of a lone lupine trail walker
who wandered down from Canada,
and that the call of a howling wolf
returning to an ancestral home
is for some
like that of a sacred drum heard from a distance.
A friend tells a story from the same remote backcountry,
one that still gives him bad dreams, of her bright eyes staring
back just beyond the campfire early one morning,
how the light rain washed her bloody paws clean as she slipped away.