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.