Tuesday, July 18, 2006

"Lone Wolf" by Keith Harvey

Lone Wolf

She knew that I dreamed of wolves and so on a frigid moonless night
she told me the story of a lone wolf, the only wolf left in a western state,
who traveled several hundred miles north to find a mate
and when he arrived at his destination in another country
this lone wolf discovered for the first time that he was an old wolf,
too old to mate with the young females of this pack,
even though he had sniffed her out on a hint of air.
Too exhausted to return to his country, he hung about the pack,
still a lone wolf but close enough to smell her in heat.
After weeks of following the pack and being driven from his kills
by younger wolves he sickened and died in a stand of ash.
As she told me this story I recognized the wolf in her golden eyes
and I smelled her canine breath as she rested her dark head
on my chest. She smiled, baring her teeth, and I knew
that she saw my gray thinning hair
and the scars on my shoulders and legs.
She knew that my time was passing
and that if I didn’t join the pack now,
her faithful gaze would soon fade away
at the sound of the howls of younger wolves
and she would leave me to the cold and snow,
to hunger for her warmth and starve.

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