Parable of the Wolf Wherever You Are
Nothing on us but days measured like contractions. Count down from ten and pull wool from my skin in wet tufts. At the river, trees hold fruit up to the sun the way my mother inspects a glass after washing. Skin translucent. In Aesop, certain unlikeliness arises between wolf and the word wolf that fits in a mouth as if the mouth were a lamb—a wolf not always unlike her own pink tongue lapping at a small pool before she lifts her head to say come out. Baby, don’t come out. Stay in my ventricle whole, ectopic. She lifts her head to tell me with my tongue where she has been hiding, thoracic, lunglike inside me all along and how to grip the nape and split the body so her spine comes out like a root letting go of the dirt.
I’ve been doing a lot of wanting lately. Saying to myself: I want a fin. A wing, something kin, sudden and certain inside my body. Not just a metaphor, for example. Real sun to eat out of a glass. In order for this to happen, I must be permeable. Homeostatic. Like a strong ale, I hibernated and now I’m ready. Somewhere, outside, a little fox runs across a parking lot and jumps in a dumpster. Fox is looking for a word, a snack. I let him in. I say come in. I say you are fox but he just stares right through it. I keep my grid tight. As a predator, I understand it’s rude to stare. I will go home covered in flex of blood. I mean flecks. Sorry. Something comes in, something else comes out. I will go home and eat my meat without looking at its eye. When I say covered in, that means a surface is involved but I can’t remember whose. Maybe it’s all just one something. Since I’ve been mastering the art of terraforming, nouns can be especially challenging. I have a name for you: stasis in a vortex. No such thing. Meat of apple and milk, meat of nut and mutton. Some I I am. In my head one X stays rhymeless. That’s what I’ve been trying to say. I think the fox was eating a beer can when I watched him from my bedroom window that overlooks the dumpster. He picked it up with his hands. He picked it up and drank it like a glass of sun.
Hunt her not in thought: taut scar -let tissue torn from other, elsewhere hold her reach your hand into the comb and pull it back honeyed, married * It is not a question I can ask whether the bees can abstract a small symbol, a petite as a first arrest cardiac then respiratory then legs wrangled QTer/PTer * My incisor: Little melissa, my sister softer terminal * they can fold my glasses up, cut a piece of me off. We are moving as one, wrecked grass tracked on the carpet rill of muscle will writhe to hold me my other, my daughter cells diligent, as if they could keep anything out by building each her very own wall
Laura Bylenok’s debut full length collection of poetry, Warp, was chosen by Arthur Sze for the 2015 T.S. Eliot Prize and published by Truman State University Press. She is also the author of the hybrid prose book a/0 (DIAGRAM/New Michigan Press, 2014). Her poetry has appeared in Best New Poets 2015, Ninth Letter, Pleiades, North American Review, West Branch, and Guernica, among other journals. She holds an MFA from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Utah. She is Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.