Chapter 16
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“How to Make a Wolf”

Book Excerpt: Every Lash

How to Make a Wolf

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.

“How to Make a Wolf”

Copyright © 2021 by Leigh Anne Couch. All rights reserved. Every Lash is Leigh Anne Couch’s second collection after Houses Fly Away (2007) and a chapbook, Green and Helpless (2008). Her poems are published widely in magazines including PANK, Gulf Coast, Subtropic, Smartish Pace, Nelle, and Cincinnati Review. Now a freelance editor, she was formerly at Duke University Press and The Sewanee Review. She lives in Sewanee with writer Kevin Wilson and their sons.