The Timber Wolf

In this version, she’s still not easy to love. In this version,
she stalks your pets, not your children. Her indifference
cuts you. Her unflinching yellow eyes. She’s no

shoeshine deer, no lapsed sheep. In this version, she ignores
Little Red Riding Hood, her talcumed grandmother.

She brings bones to the den, licks her cubs’ noses wet,
cradles her lover in the furred scoop of her body.
She’s no character in your story, villain or otherwise.

Which makes you—in this version—not the hero.

So shear your sheep. Call your scraping dogs. Surround
yourself with barbed wire and the beasts who adore you,

as if those who are easy to love are worth the loving.

Elizabeth Vignali is an optician and writer in the Pacific Northwest, where she co-produces the Bellingham Kitchen Sessions reading series. She is the author of Object Permanence and coauthor of Your Body A Bullet, forthcoming from Unsolicited Press. Her poems have appeared in Willow Springs, Cincinnati Review, Mid-American Review, Tinderbox, The Literary Review, and others.