The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Where the Wolf by Sally Rosen Kindred

This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Where the Wolf by Sally Rosen Kindred, released by Diode Editions in 2021. 

First Night

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.

Sally Rosen Kindred’s third collection is Where the Wolf, winner of the 2020 Diode Book Award (Diode Editions, 2021). Her previous books are Book of Asters and No Eden, both from Mayapple Press, and her most recent chapbook is Says the Forest to the Girl (Porkbelly Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared in journals including The Massachusetts ReviewThe Gettysburg ReviewAlaska Quarterly Review, and Kenyon Review Online. She teaches creative writing workshops online for The Poetry Barn.


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