Crave, Craven

The wolf in me hunts
the not-wolf

through a snarl of ravening
forest, kindling for the feast,

and wonders how she summons
a path through the snow,

trusts her name to chime
from the creeping frost.

She coaxes, clutches
berries with white gloves,

rolls them on the tongue
til they swallow down pearls.

Stitches loosen, leaking
sweet cream, enough

honeysuckled syrup
to fossilize jaws.

Who wouldn’t want that
ivory vanity, to ravage

the four quarters of her
hollow heart?  One howl

can startle constellations
and bring down the arrows,

the hydra and its many heads.
Mice tremble in the hood

of her hair, buttons blinking
like doe eyes, the smell of moon-

scorched wheat an invitation
to pounce.  Only one claw

to cut loose her cloak,
razor the wine-stained mouth,

teeth crowding to clamp down
on a laugh made of fog.



They burst from the shorn field,
plural notes blown to a solo,
a bellow from the winter queen
met by a whimper from her
mother, eyes weeping seeds
that go lost in a gobble.

The black sunset contracts
into clasped hands,
an elastic lung that breathes
when she breathes
then skews toward the water,
liquid on the verge of vapor—
a telekinetic gambol

of cells nudging
against their neighbors,
herding without permission
toward the same wound,
the same shivering cheeks
that smack of unwelcome kisses

gone cherry as a car alarm—
a girl could go dizzy
in such an outbreak of mourning.
Can’t stand the pricking
soil, Mother.    Can’t stand
the sky, absent of stars.

Take the starlings, instead,
moths skimming over
stained glass windows,
probing through the saturated
night for hinges and fissures,
fearless gaps in the closing gloom.


Leslee Rene Wright currently works in higher education, teaching literature and creative writing at Metro State College of Denver. Her poems have previously appeared or are forthcoming in Louisville Review, Moon Milk ReviewHayden’s Ferry Review, Cimarron Review, and others.