356 Poems/221 Woman Who Lived With Wolves

Woman who lived with Wolves

Snow must have muffled my screams,

as there is no crunch outside the tepee.

Blood drips from my nose, falls to

the floor, and freezes.


But the moon, and the forests,

the rivers and the mountains

all heard his fist.


When he’s sleeping, mouth open

like the yawning jaws of the great bear,

I take life between my teeth and quietly leave.


Winter is on my side and joins me,

covering my tracks.


I climb a ridge, move onwards,

higher, where cold isolates every breath.

I don’t want to be found. Anger is hot,

like flesh on summer nights.


I find a cave. Inside, the air is soft.

I wrap my wet robe around and sleep,

face close to ancient, rocky walls.


Hunger finds me, roots itself in my torso.

Dark forms pass before my eyes – wolves.


They pull away the robe, as I would

have done with my child, to reveal

it’s splendour to the village.


They curl close. Blood pumps like a river

heavy and flushed in spring.


In the evening, when the mane of darkness

has fallen, the wolves leave and I cannot follow.

They sing to the stars and I listen.


When sun is breaking open, they return,

mouths full, and I  am soon blood covered

and satisfied.


I make clothes from deer hide, sewing

with bone needles and sinew, and the wolves

watch, heads to one side.


I learn their language. They tell me

of the places they’ve been and I listen.


When summer turns, it’s time

to leave, and the wolves know.


I remain distant among my people,

but everyone is kind. Nobody speaks

of the past. In time, I tell of the wolves,

in time, they give me my wolf name.