February 10, 2021

Ron Koertge

BECAUSE WOLVES ARE A PROTECTED SPECIES, THIS ONE IS MERELY INTERROGATED

Show us on the map where you often lurk.
Don’t be afraid. It’s just the two of us.

Would a cigarette help? A soft drink?
Start with the woodsman’s hut? These places 

here and here and here—what are they called?
Take your time. I can offer you money,

and a new identity. Why even hesitate?
Look, this wristwatch belonged to my father. 

It’s yours if you tell the truth.
Those sites I asked you about earlier—

your favorite was Bridesmaid’s Dress.
Don’t embarrass us both by pretending.

Name your most frequent visitor.
That’s right. Now we’re getting somewhere. 

Pretend I am young and innocent. Say to me 
exactly what you would say to her.

Do you think you can fool me? And we were 
getting along so well. I’ll ask another way.

This item of intimate apparel is called
a galvanic bonnet-with-blue-cornflowers.  

Put it on. Now point to Grandma’s house. 

from Rattle #70, Winter 2020

__________

Ron Koertge: “When I read that wolves had been reclassified as a protected species, the poetry apparatus I keep well-oiled turned itself on. When it comes to writing, and I tell my students this all the time, I’m a big believer in ‘What If.’ So what if hunters couldn’t hunt? What might they do instead?” (web)

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