for Marilyn Hacker
There were the books, and wolves were in the books.
They roamed between words. They snarled and loped
through stories with bedraggled wolfish looks
at which the hackles rose and the world stopped
in horror, and she read them because she knew
the pleasures of reading, the page being rapt
with the magic of the fierce, and she could do
the talk of such creatures. So one day
when teacher asked if there were any who
could read, she rose as if the task were play,
to claim the story where she felt at home.
The tale was Riding Hood, the wolf was grey.
The fierceness was the wood where grey wolves roam.
She read it round, she read it through and through
It was as if the wolf were hers to comb,
like those bedraggled creatures in the zoo
that, trapped behind the bars, would snarl and stride
as you’d expect a page or wolf to do.
|About this poem:
“‘The Wolf Reader’ came out of a formal exercise in which people told each other a dream and this dream set me off. I do write a good deal in formal patterns and the poem was written fast as my poems often are—I need momentum—then I fiddled with it for a while without changing anything much except punctuation and an odd word. The outside world, the inner world, and other people's inner worlds constitute a continuum like a river in which any imagination may fish. Rivers are not to be owned. This river brought up a wolf and a book.”
The Invisible Woman is the windshield. Mr. Fantastic is the wiper fluid. The Thing is the tire. The Human Torch is the spark plug. Spiderman is the antenna. Storm is the ignition coil. Rogue is the crank shaft. The Punisher is the exhaust pipe. Captain America is the hub cap. Quicksilver is the oil. Rogue is the gasoline. Psylocke is the catalytic converter. The Hulk is the cylinder block. She Hulk is the mount. Mantis is the manifold. Ms. Marvel is the muffler. The Scarlet Witch is the instrument panel. Iceman is the cooling system. Wolverine is the hood. Colossus is the camshaft. Banshee is the horn. Polaris is the voltage regulator. Silver Surfer is the rearview mirror. Powerman is the bearing. Phoenix is the powertrain. Emma Frost is the hinge pillar. The Vision is the fuse box. Black Widow is the brake.
Copyright © 2012 by Bruce Covey. Used with permission of the author.