‘Tracking the wolf’ by Wendy Klein

Tracking the wolf
after Cormac McCarthy

the boy     his brother    their father
             (not yet awake)    the horse
the dog behind the gate watching him go

the she-wolf    the    snow    the blood    the gun
              the traps       the calves
aborted before term

pale    unborn    still warm    milk blue
near translucent (like beings miscarried
              from another planet)

the boy will follow her all day    find signs
              grass pressed down
still warm from the sun    or from her body

a heifer lying on its side in the shadow
of the woods where she had killed it
              begun to feed on it (eaten the liver
dragged the intestines
              over the snow)

he will find her already in the trap    her paw
              crushed pad     white matchsticks
                                          of splintered bone
              poetry of manhood
          the bone    the boy    the poet
who against reason
will take the wolf’s side
                       not knowing
what everyone must surely know

that no one can ever
save the wolf
that the poor wolf cannot be saved
(Winner of the Cinnamon Press Single Poem Competition 2014)
Wendy Klein was born in New York, left the U.S. in 1964 to live in Sweden, and on from there on to France and Germany. She has lived most of her adult life in England, a retired psychotherapist, she is published in many magazines and anthologies and has two collections from Cinnamon Press: Cuba in the Blood (2009) and Anything in Turquoise (2013).