My Father Asks If I Was Raised By A Jackal
he laughs but he knows what he did. he molded my blood.
I became part wolf while driving
the lawnmower. my nails sharpened into blades.
I remember the day I woke up
with hair in my throat. I ran twenty miles in the snow
and didn’t get tired. I shaved my legs but the fur
kept growing back. my palms turned rough
and thick with grit. my father threw me down
the stairs but I landed on all fours. I ate my steaks
with less and less salt. more blood—no knives.
my sister and mother kept their distance.
they cleaned up the messes I’d make. my father
groomed the wolf in me —threw slices of meat at me
in the yard, live rabbits, flightless baby birds.
he kept me outside in the winter, to see
how long I would last, how hot my heart
would pump. once all my teeth fell out, I knew
I couldn’t go back. in their place, long, silvery fangs.
sharp bones cutting my lips. I blinded my mother
when I kissed her goodnight. I ran away the next day.
I killed small animals in the woods nearby. I kept warm
in the rotting leaves, the mud. sometimes, at night,
I could hear my father. he was howling for me.
at the moon. at the ink black of the sky.