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


The Wolf Who Didn’t Leave

The woman cursed,
threw stones, waved
her arms in the sky.
Nothing but a blink,
a yawn, a trot
back a few feet
to sit and face
her again. Once upon
a time, the woman learned
this surge of fear
and thought she could carry on.
The woman cursed
this calm refusal
to shrink or move. But
the wolf on the beach sat
in her stillness, waiting.
When finally the woman turned
to leave, the wolf slipped into the trees,
returned with three
small pups trailing
behind her to splash
and play in the sea.
Now that you have heard
this story, what will you do
with your own
ecology of fear?

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, Terrain.org, and elsewhere. Her poems won the fifth annual Terrain.org 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.

 

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, Terrain.org, and elsewhere. Her poems won the fifth annual Terrain.org 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.

 

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


Tracks

Last night’s rain
fills the mud
rim of this
track where
the wolf
with two
crooked toes
crossed
the trail
so close
to where
we spooned
in sleep—
dark tucking in
the edges
of our looselimbed dreaming,
bodies curved
and pressed
together
like an ear.

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, Terrain.org, and elsewhere. Her poems won the fifth annual Terrain.org 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.

 

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


The Stories

are carried by almost everyone.
Whispered over gas pumps, traded
as currency in aisles at market.
A shadow slipping back to trees.
A white wolf at the corner of Red Rock Road.
Two black wolves, sleeping with snouts tucked
under tails in deep moss on the bluffs.
A wolf eating apples in the orchard,
slurping up seaweed, digging for clams.
The terrier that followed the howls, never
returned. The sheep torn open.
Each story has a pit to carry and turn
over: stone of worry, stone of prayer, warm
against the body, in a pocket
like the one on your thigh
as you bend to gather piles of salt-crusted
seaweed the storm left in a lumpy rope
at tide line. You fill two orange buckets, one in each
hand you carry up the trail below the bluff
to the shrinking compost. The stone
in your pocket starts its soft bleating,
almost bleeding, your skin
lit and honed, prickling
in the undergrowth. Salal berries
glowing red as meat. You step over
fresh scat—still-wet deer fur,
chips of black hoof, shards
of white bone glisten with grease.
In the forest, just beyond sight, a snap
and crack of branches charges
the air between trees. Something
sudden waits for an opening.
Above you, nighthawks thread the evening
sky with boom and whistle.
A loon in salt water wails to a loon
somewhere on the inland lake.

You finger the stone, its wave-worn
surface, its weight—the story
you carry has made you
another animal.

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, Terrain.org, and elsewhere. Her poems won the fifth annual Terrain.org 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.

 

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


The Swimmers

After all the wolves on the island were killed by cyanide, traps, and bullets, decades later,
wolves from the mainland swam for miles to repopulate the island.

By dream, by twitch, by lope, by gazing from the shore, by howls that gather,
by circle and whine, by hint, rumor and surge, by yearn, nip, and bark,
by stretch, itch, and shake, by splash, dunk, and swim by starlight,
by bull kelp and driftwood, by calm and gelatinous sea, by stink
of whale, by salt of far, by winter fur, by paws as paddles,
by chuff and nostril huff, by steam of breath above
the sea, by belly of salmon, by hunger for deer,
by memory in blood, by roam for love,
by milk and teat, by marrow and fat,
by muscle, skull and golden eyes,
by magnetic pull, by currents
and tides, by miles, by sinking
cold, with no one watching
by sea by sea by sea.

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, Terrain.org, and elsewhere. Her poems won the fifth annual Terrain.org 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.