The Wolves – Jonathan May


Last winter, the one came in a top hat,
snarling with all the tact of a mortician.
I have not forgotten his paw, black, spotted with stars

and hairy—he bade me kiss it, and I could feel the clotted
dirt on my lips, the polish of his black nails. Wolves,
I murmur. They wanted to be left alone. Then

they just wanted. And that was all it took. The sheen
of their thousands on the horizon, their bodies forming
a curve of silver light. The emissaries in monocles,

talking about the latest Badger installation in Vale 5.
I listened endlessly, tape-recorder in hand, tempoing
their whimps and snaps and growls into a language.

Please, I whimpered, last time they came. Please, let me
stay. They made me pluck out my eyes for them to eat.
I was the first to travel their new territory, riding

along their spines in the darkest dark, guided by the feel
of their matted backs, the undulating fur beneath me.
All around, their transmissions howled like reentry.

Jonathan May grew up in Zimbabwe as the child of missionaries. A queer writer, he lives and teaches in Memphis, TN, where he uses poetry therapy to help people with eating disorders. His work has appeared in [PANK], Superstition Review, Duende, One, and Rock & Sling. He recently translated the play Dreams by Günter Eich into English. Read more at


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