Like ragged, black sheets drawn above a face
a storm dragged across the town.
Stranded on stubbled acres,
leaning into a cold head wind’s howl,
I heaved, heaved, into that gale
as if to haul on rope wrapped round boulders,
boulders breaking waves of effort
into shreds, shingle, splinters
of stinging salt-cut water,
as a voice inside said push,
you can push now, you have to push,
before a sudden silence belled.
In my throat, fear billowed dank smoke.
I knew our youngest was lost, alone
as crowds tried to make safe exodus
in the nimbus-palled town behind me
his tall slim form an unstaked hollyhock
bent inside fate’s hurricane.
Then like the breath between contractions
I saw below the thunderheads
two long, lean dogs milling;
their russet coats like buffed copper,
polished resin; two amber lanterns
set in panic’s window; and that was when
my mind sheered off, shed its pod of reason
for I knew our son would soon find shelter;
the wolves’ kin that stood there now,
their fur silk-shot and racing
like grasses streaming in the wind,
two warm heralds that announced
our child’s animal obsession
would act as magnet in his skull
to draw the young, red iron of him here —
yet an old woman some still call seer
told me later, it was right,
what my shucked mind saw;
if there is anything left to guard us
it will be the wilds that vine our blood
on the future’s blistered shores.