First Death by Wolves in North America

by Brett Haymaker

two wolves salivate sky from Jacob’s
ladder blue bonk bunk bot to black
as thawed dew clings to a hair shaft they snip and spool
at Kenton Carnegie’s calves, pulls of flesh give
way to a trail of moon-drift snow packs, paw prints,
drool reliefs reveal when read out loud a struggle here, jaw-pop
and chew can set your clocks by it, you

can’t dodge a hunt-rattle once
rattled in denim jeans, exposed pockets
of bone up shit creek with a death paddle.

evergreens bear up water
boulders of night branch off like cattle
the boy stumbles over a mammal
dwelling or pine root, lands as heavy
metals found in teeth
               they have him caught up
     in religion
matter          a red Book of aluminum powder,
     two minutes shaking
     an Etch A Sketch
     images of catch
     images of throw
     all erased like graves by the snow

Dogwoods dance to resurrect still life
Carnegie rises a bipedal purged of prayer,
wrestles silver from fur coats with his father’s
over-bite, lunges blind at eyes with nickel
coins cast from his jacket, the sounds of currency
having slunk instinct forth from stalactite-
scented burrows where the kill might be
dragged sometimes for seconds.

a sip of coffee a cop slurps
finally, red-hound snort out
a blood Pollock framed by trees, a history
of body parts, a toe, a tendon, a grip
of stone, a knot of wolves, all
ka-banged all gutted and hanged.

photographers retire that night to the sportsman’s hall,
they admire shoes, lick their fangs, open
apertures of whiskey. One makes a phone call,
hung on the end of the bar by his shoulder pads
like stag antlers mounted on the wall.

He says animals are re-inhabiting the wild,
why, with hunting down thirty-four percent and sons moving into the city
not knowing how to dress an elk, or stir chocolate into their milk,
raw and nude like summer swans panting in a parked car,
forced to act but act or act upon?
That is Saskatchewan.

Brett Haymaker has studied poetry under the tutelage of Poets Harriet Millan and James Ragan. He currently studies fiction under Cheryl Sucher, and playwriting under Jacqueline Goldfinger. When Brett isn’t under so many people, he’s on top of his green 1980 motorcycle.

Back to Issue Six: Winter 2010