The Letter O
by Shay Wills
If I were a wolf, I wouldn’t
Write a poem about being
A wolf. Oh, I’d lope and lunge
Along hills and ridgelines,
My sense of smell would guide me through
The dust and sedge, the pines and open
Space over my head for prey.
I wouldn’t know The Odyssey or Ovid
Or the importance of the letter O
In a phrase like “romantic movement.”
I’d know the taste of deer blood
And scent of the deer’s final, fearful
Dung. My lungs would feel elastic.
I’m no wolf jogging along a boulevard,
Both knees armored with braces,
And I limp from a ligament surgery.
I know what a wolf does not. I know
The letter O is in dollars and furlough,
And I know the taste of cannoli after gunfire,
The aroma of ink in poetry. Nights are
Slashed back with electric lights
From nuclear power plants or
Hydroelectric dams that stop the rivers.
Very un-wolf-like, I still feel wolfish,
Which has an O in it too.