Luanne Castle’s forthcoming collection Rooted and Winged will be available in September 2022. Kin Types (Finishing Line Press), a chapbook of poetry and flash nonfiction, was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. Her first collection of poetry, Doll God (Aldrich), won the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for Poetry. Her Pushcart and Best of the Net-nominated poetry and prose have appeared in Copper Nickel, American Journal of Poetry, Pleiades, Tipton Poetry Review, River Teeth, TAB, Verse Daily, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Saranac Review, Grist, and other journals.
Start in your own room. Shut the door.
If you can, lock it or else barricade
with the hope chest and all your dolls.
Prop a flashlight on the bedding,
pointed at the gray fan-pattern plaster,
and make a light-circle on the wall.
Find your shadow. Try to keep track.
Close four fingers with the thumb up.
Curl in your index finger. There,
your own shadow is a basic wolf.
Add a thumb and wiggle the ears.
Watch now. Your pinky finger
is the mouth, open and close it.
See, no teeth. Can you make an open
eye by tweaking that one finger?
Close it now. You’re in charge.
Tip your hand, open the mouth,
and howl at the moon, all aquiver.
Explore the wilderness of your father’s workshop.
Listen so intently that you can hear a turtle scratching
in the window well.
Offer an hour of pinochle or hoops.
Another distraction might be a good report card.
Study his face for bared teeth or curled lips.
Take the belt without crying.
Swallow the soap bubbles without crying.
Look into his yellow eyes without flinching.
Build a moat around your bed with piles of books.
Go out to play after dinner and don’t come home until the stars appear,
then sneak in to your bedroom as if you were always there.
Stay overnight at anybody’s house, even the girl who smells like pee.
Find a wolf hunter to be your boyfriend.
Go away to college or, if that doesn’t work, marry the hunter.
Sign up for classes in wolf psychology and lupine warfare.
Lock up the hunter when the wolf comes around. Lay on your new armor
and sharpen your tongue. The better to chew him with.