by | Sep 5, 2017 | Poetry


Yes, I saw a wolf gnaw a two-day-old carcass,
lifting the weight of meat with his jaws,
on the day when I woke before dawn
so that I could clamber into a van
to spot whatever is left of wildness
in America:
wolves reinserted into a landscape
their ancestors once owned.
Yes, I saw eagles, bears, elk, snakes;
rafted river rapids; rode; hiked;
watched Old Faithful erupt three times;
heard a cowboy say how the wolves
that I wanted to see
now kill his calves,
their blood as red
as my daughter’s when I held her,
blood leaking from her eye,
before the guide carried her
a mile uphill back to the road
and the van and the nearest doctor,
and apart from the blood
all of it was wonderful,
a word too plain to hold that joy,
wonderful but separate
from life back in Pittsburgh
and the old familiar struggle to find
ten minutes in the day
when I can sit quietly with my son,
a struggle that grows harder as he grows up,
so that the memory I choose to unfold
is not the wolf, or the river, or the geysers,
but instead the hour I spent reading to him
beside the washing machines in Bozeman
while our newly dirtied, nearly new hiking socks
gyrated beside us,
and he and I were in accord.


Mary Soon Lee was born and raised in London, but now lives in Pittsburgh. She has won the Elgin Award and the Rhysling Award for her poetry. A dozen of her poems may be read at




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