Letting in the Wolves



[A flower waits to bloom inside your ribcage]

[In place of pelvic bone there will be locusts]


            Mommy was smaller than the

            poppy she held onto.

            She knew she could never be tall

            enough to see past it

            so she painted her lips

            red & parted them

            ever so


            to imitate the soft

            bloom of

            petals unfurling

            revealing all tomorrow’s

            black seeds.




                        A dandelion burst from her

                                    belly & carried her

                                                into the sky.

                                                            She floated,


                                                                                    by her hot

                                                                        air balloon silver

                                                                                    bullet wild white



                                                                                    Someone else had a

                                                                                                wish. He blew. Seeds

                                                                                                            scattered in the





Now they are a couple       of smudged       faces holding       hands in the woods.        The woods are       blue the flowers are       white & it is difficult       to tell what lies       behind them & what       hovers ahead. She       might be facing       away from you.        He might have a hat       atop his head.        Nothing is       quite clear       from this distance.


[And what costume shall               the poor girl wear                         to all tomorrow’s              parties?]




You levitate,

naked body

hung, white fish

from a hook.


            The Hanged Woman.


Your dress has been pulled


inside out.

You are beheaded

by folds of fabric.

You seem to have too many arms.


Your body makes a new face:

            unblinking nipples.

            Black V grin.




                        Don your winter



                        Lying in a field

                        under a wolf

                        the world stops



                        Lying in a field

                        under a wolf

                        [              ]

                        [               ]

                        [               ]



These days Mommy sits on a pond-rock, not facing

                                                                        her reflection. Her redundant dress

                        shimmers among woods.

                                                The pond-image is not a perfect likeness.


            The trees are darker in reverse, her face less

                                                            human. The red of her dress spreads to the edge

                                                of the pond.


                                                                        A woman steps out of the photograph.

                                                                        She looks like you would look if you

                                                                        weren’t always looking

                                                                        for dead things.

                                                                        She carries a stuffed wolf in her arms.

                                                                        Sequoias line her path, sentries.

                                                                        She is in no hurry.

                                                                        She is not leaving.

                                                                        She is looking at you.



                                                                        she says.

                                                                                     Stay for the ending.

                                                                                     Stay for dandelion


                                                                                     golden tress.


                                                                        A second look:

                                                                        not a stuffed wolf, stiff and still,

                                                                        but a wolf satisfied.

                                                                        A wolf that’s had its fill.



The hills still whisper winter's

rumor, a grey that won't wash out.


She is no longer scared to remain

motionless &

            swallow the sun.


She waits by a garden of discarded

antlers all reaching skyward as if

still attached

to caribou.


The antlers are

white & do not

move. Unnecessary bones

overgrown with brambles.

Bowls balance atop thorns.

Bowls of dandelion brine.


The future has something to do

with her yellow hair casting

shadows on her face.



                                    Bloom of the poppy, the past unpearls: cinder, cinder, cinder.


                                    Your miseries, one by one:

                                                garbled eyes & empty hands

                                                need biting every tongue you try to confess with

                                                greed born of your mother’s wild white want

                                                the seeds the seeds—


                                    This bloom gives off a smell.

                                    This bloom is raw meat.

                                    The wolves press in.

                                    Unfold. Let them begin.


An earlier version of this poem was published by Nailed Magazine.