What was the wolf thinking, seeing me from the lake’s opposite shore, just as I saw it, though surely it saw me before. Standing mostly naked me, peeing me,
smelling exactly like what I was, am, and always will be me. I was thinking It’s cold, it’s almost sunrise, then—a slinking on the other side: wait, not it, but two: them.
So what were the wolves thinking? And why, when I made the least move—shaking the dew off the lily, so to speak, as I always do— did both begin to trot under a gray sky
across the bouldered moraine, headed east into the deeper wild. Trot became lope and they vanished among stones the same shade as themselves, after which I noticed
all through camp, up to and around our tents, their tracks, everywhere. They must have come before first light, where they took in some clearer awareness of us, and then went,
circumnavigating a high mountain lake, when in mild light they saw me—I must have looked exactly like it smelled I would—when they took off at a trot, then a lope, time being theirs to take.
I Want to Praise Her Parts
I want to praise her parts—helm, gorget, plackart, and greave—but her wounds (sudden gust, window), which look more like exoskeletal dishevelment, concern me. Even me on my belly on the porch, looming over and looking at her through a magnifying glass, does not make her leap or fly. She’s almost an inch long, her antennae upright and gently curved, her thighs (if that’s what they are, the muscular seeming upper parts of her cricket legs) sleek and symmetrical. Large hypnotic black eyes, the long stiletto of her ovipositor. A dozen shades of amber, she is. I would like to kiss her, she is clear to me through the glass. Then I see her left ear, just below the knee of her foreleg, elongate, lighter hued, and I cannot take my eyes from it. When she moves, rotates a quarter inch away from me and appears to be gathering herself to leap and fly, it turns out she doesn’t, which may or may not be because I have begun ever so softly to sing.
Robert Wrigley’s most recent book is Box (Penguin, 2017). He lives in the woods of northern Idaho with his wife, the writer Kim Barnes.