Free To Roam With Wolves

by Luke Otley

My truest friend is gone
robbed back to Cornish cobbles,
back to what I used to think were wide drains
that leaked on Monday mornings
what I used to think was stink–
I know better now
for worse,
how foul the dead can smell

And what now for me?
Now even the blue shade
of Luc’s bullied old ford,
kilometres frozen in time,
the bass croak
of the blear exhaust
sputtered out of sight?

I become enlightened
to the frailty of my copper bones–
I run to the safest town
I know like a wounded and hungry hound,
the wool is pulled from my eyes–
How dangerous the hot red earth!
How weak my sunburned arms!
How breakable these fickle locks
I crouch behind
whimpering, pathetic
whistling poems into dust

A feverish pitch– Where the police?
How can I acquire the air
of certain safety
wrapped around the rest–
How sure that elderly lady seems!
Could I not grab her bag?
Would she fight?
Will I break an arm?

I wake midday to gunshot fright
No–
It’s just my air freshener breeze clacking–
Sweat loops my neck like a dirty halo,
three years, more
of wishing freedom
has come to this–
I on the other side
knuckles rapping
on the fence,
my eyes dark
dancing over shoulder,
begging
to be let back
in.