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. 

Fairy Tale for Mother and Teenage Son

A wolf dreams his death
at the foot of a bloodied alder. You know this
because it’s your son who dreamed it.
You had a son who’s now a wolf.
The snow-hour he wakes to is bright with breath
from his new mouth and moonlit by his cry.
You had a son. Now you are bewildered.

A wolf can be mistaken for a rock.
A wolf can be mistaken for the moon.
A wolf must be mistaken when
he looks at his body and sees your son.
He was a child, felt his body enter snow
but the snow was the muscle
of a dream, stretched past howl and bone.

He looks at you now from beauty, his dread-body.
He sees you through his hackles, his smoke eye.
You are no wolf: can’t be. Are soft, white, a rat–
whiskered other. Your hungers smell wrong. You lean,
all flesh-belly song–he remembers. You pry a lullaby
from your crowded mouth: he sees teeth. Wolf hunches now,
hungry. Numb. He was your son. He turns away.

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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