This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Where the Wolf by Sally Rosen Kindred, released by Diode Editions in 2021.
Two hours after my father left for good
with his wet hair lamp-gleam black and his zippered bag,
my mother pulsed through the house, turning off
all the lights. I followed her. Then sat
on the rug in the dark watching smoke twist
up from her cigarette and drop
small stars to burn into her blouse, black with blue roses.
I did not yet believe
in the kitchen to come, in bottles that lit
and littered the air, tilting here from the future–
that God could lay her down, years, on that couch.
I looked up at her. I touched the rug’s braid.
Behind her head: four cold windows.
Beyond them, outside, in grass moon-wet with night,
a ghost Wolf guarded the yard.
In memory She moves now out from the alders
and skirts the silver swings.
Her tufts bristle in the grass.
We had called Her name–with a snap of the switch
on the glass-white globe, turn
of the lamp’s brass key. With our breath and fingers. Without that dark
Wolf could never have found us. She
could not have come to me. Would not
have felt safe. My mother
was sagging already, losing stars, buckling
under her story. Pain found me Wolf ’s
ghost body: gave me Never and fur I dreamed, I hid, I held, I
would not tell.
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