The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Living With Wolves by Anne Haven McDonnell

How to Sit with a Wolf

If you are peeling chestnuts
on the rocks above Frank’s beach.
If the basket in your lap
balances the day’s
grey light, corrals
the sky between polished stone.
If days of rain
and more rain
have pushed newts to their slow,
blood-chilled crawl
on the road. If yesterday
you carried each one
across in its open-toed
freeze, orange belly above
your open palm.
If the sea gentles here
between islands, your fingers
work back bits of leathery skin,
the nuts fuzzed and naked
in a blue bowl.
If you keep your eyes down—
the song you sing
in your off-key quiver, the words
lift and drop and lift

until the young wolf you caught
sleeping on sand takes
you in and takes you
for this place
you are trying
to belong to—

This selection comes from Living With Wolves, available from Splitrock Review. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Sunni Brown Wilkinson.

Anne Haven McDonnell lives in Santa Fe, NM where she teaches as associate professor in English and Creative Writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She migrates to the coastal northwest most summers. Her poetry has been published in Orion Magazine, The Georgia Review, Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry, Alpinist Magazine,, and elsewhere. Her poems won the fifth annual poetry prize and second place for the Gingko international ecopoetry prize. @splitrockreview

Sunni Brown Wilkinson’s poetry can be found in Western Humanities Review, Sugar House Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, SWWIM, Crab Orchard Review and other journals and anthologies. She is the author of The Marriage of the Moon and the Field (Black Lawrence Press 2019, finalist for the Hudson Prize) and The Ache & The Wing (forthcoming 2021, winner of Sundress’s 2020 Chapbook Prize).  She also won New Ohio Review’s NORward Poetry Prize and the 2020 Joy Harjo Prize from Cutthroat Literary Magazine. She teaches at Weber State University and lives in northern Utah with her husband and three sons.



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