How To Make a Wolf

by Leigh Anne Couch

The dog could smell love in our hands,
our eyes, our dozen words. The-things-
we-would-not-say would have to wait
until they no longer needed us.
Chickens roosted in the waiting.

When you kissed me in the bright kitchen.
When I slid down the wall with your voice
in the phone smashed to my chest.
Something stirred in the far dark, half alive
and making its way to our throats.

For its body we made a home:
parted curtains, deep-set eyes,
or parted lips about to speak,
about to think better of it.
The spaces were perfect around the-things-

we-would-not-say. The goats rarely
lifted their chins from thistle and thorn;
fear hunched in the wracked branches
and spiraling sighs—just the wind,
or the wind off the back of our creature circling in.

We will save each other from the world.
We will banish each other from the world.
In the loneliness of marriage will we grow shy
as two deer who do not recognize one another?
Will you miss me most when I’m in your arms?

For now we pass through the world in our home,
needing fewer and fewer words.
The goats blink their kaleidoscope eyes.
Our wolf is ready, teeth brilliant and long.
She softens her jaw to hold the master’s hand.

Leigh Anne Couch lives in Tennessee and is the managing editor of the Sewanee Review. Her poems have appeared in Shenandoah, 32 Poems, Alaska Quarterly Review, Blackbird, Carolina Quarterly, Verse Daily, The Bark, and other journals. Her manuscript “Houses Fly Away” won the Zone 3 Press First Book Award and will be published in 2007.