Why not cry, Wolf?

When my tears come they will
   be defrosted snowflakes from
 a self-sequestered squad of four
   deliberate deep-sea divers
   hired to harvest each
grown from a kernel of salt 
                             with care 
from beneath an iceberg.

     This map of Alaska is a scale model 
highway of my heart.
      These tears that would blur my vision 
are corn syrup and rock salt
 poured as an 
        afterthought onto night asphalt.

Who were they not for? 
     These headlights in sleet?
I blink back their sting 
and tighten the knot at my throat 
to close the boot 
           of this ruined old hoax
of a car
           the contents inside curled up 
like old shadows.
     Watch for crossing animals
I took a deep stumble 
      towards the green
pasture at dusk to the shadow circle 
    that moves the trees to border 
a stream where my child-self waits
with curiosity to venture to see
              if I will cry or be taken away
by a she-wolf.

       It is the geometry of grief 
                 that inevitably turns 
straight lines into circles
     with butterfly strokes.
When the time comes
I will walk to the water's edge
my eyes will flow the salty river 
           I saved in recent seasons
ink from a hard-won octopus 
  with a wet expiration 
                              of poison 
escaping my soul 
probing in sweet tendrils 
     for the pits of grief pulling 
on a diving bell
                tied to a breathing tube.

I won't let go. Not yet. 
       My dry tears are a hitchhiker 
dressed in frayed ragged jeans 
on a midnight mountain road.
    A road that never leads away, 
but only circles the mountain
            in a closed-loop halfway 
between its peaks and precipices 
like a clock with no escape 
             it must decide whether 
it's easier to imagine the vastness 
or respond to nothing.

My heart acts as the swimmer
     on the soaking highway
this lonesome silver wolf
    lapping from a puddle 
                        of octopus ink.
I can feel the slow pull of pain 

an incomplete rain that threatens
   to muffle the air bell with sobs
  like Grandpa in a Yankees hoodie
up and down the hills
    of this mountain road
driving a four-door golden Buick
admiring breathtaking steep cliffs
                                    off hairpin curves 
            bypassing the scruffy traveler
whose denim has not been washed 
                   since the journey's first step 
       wondering if he should stop 
every pass of this androgynous waif
                   holding out their hopeful 

     each time
               Grandpa does not stop
because he sees a wild wolf.
What big eyes you have.

He doesn't stop. 
     I've always admired actresses 
who can produce tears.
I'm not one of them. I save my tears.
These tears are not available

     for the show. 
What wet my eyes
              I can squint and grow back.
I'll collect all the teardrops
      from the ocean and use them
to rain on the mountain
   to persuade grandfather to gather
          He will stop 
and recognize this stranger
                  is his daughter
and bring her home to me waiting
      here by a creek on the other side
 of the mountain from the satellite antenna
at the top of the mobile home 
in the residential part
                         of the industrial park. 
He will be the King 
      who pushes his kingdom 
                             in a grocery cart.

My day of crying will come. 
     We will gather in a round embrace
   of family reunited
 and squeeze so tight our skin
        it might press off our soaking clothes
                       between us. Our family circle 
            four generations including
my unborn drenched in moonlight rain
a howling and yelping circle of wolves.

       I'm not sure
when, but we will be collected up
four deep-sea divers
       in a pillar of molten salt
       and be lifted to heaven with our wails.
My feeling circles continuously
     in a dusty Buick until one day
               rain forces Grandpa to stop
to offer us a tour abroad.

◄ Diary of the Forgotten Man

Holy Givenore ►


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Paul Sayer

Wed 9th Dec 2020 23:21

No one means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words, are slippery, and thought is viscous, for some, the skies are cloudy all day.

Here is a ray of the brightest light that reached inside to touch even our darkest place throughout the prism of your poem D.W.

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John Marks

Wed 9th Dec 2020 22:55

Yes. WE think if we're frozen, we're safe. NO, we're just very cold.

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