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Wolves

Poetry & Prose | April 29, 2013

My aunt married her second husband,
an empty headed youngest child who
danced with crooked elbows and wild joy,

on a June day that was yellow all over. She pestered
us with invocations of the soft moon and the bright
sun and the glad aura of her groom; she thanked

the movement of the planets, her joy mixing
with her appetite for grand visions of herself.
My wasted genius grandfather sat at the edge

of the crowd with my mother, his staunch
stomach bouncing with untouched laughter.
One time, when my aunt was six, her black

hair new and taut like a drum, she kicked
my uncle on the shin and my grandfather left
her on the side of the road because he had told

her that he would: a raised finger that meant,
Try me one more time. Then, he is dying, he looks
like a white turtle without his shell, his eyes

are marbles, his hands feel like old rubber
bands, she and my mother by the bed in gnarled
silence; she bares her teeth and my mother is accused

of killing him. Now, when I ask her about my
aunt, her eyes cave in and disappear and her voice
folds into itself like too many shirts

and her hands fly away from her body,
through the open window, and her howl
dives into the packed snow outside.

One family dinner, at her house, my aunt’s house,
full of fresh lettuce and corn from the garden,
she told me that my whole life makes sense

because of where the moon was on the day that
I was born. Her yellow eyes were manic, happy,
I thought, but she looked at me like a rival wolf.