May 23, 2022

Poetry Showcase: Untruths About the Desirability of Wolves, By Megan Engelhardt


Editor's Note: Want to know what it's like to be eaten by a wolf? Today's Poetry Showcase feature, originally published in EC's "Little Red Riding Hood Issue" from 2011, is one interpretation of this idea. Enjoy!

People like to think there was something sexy

about the wolf. 

There wasn't. 

It was a wolf and I was nine

and wouldn't have known what to do with a sexy wolf


The sexiest thing in the woods that day

was Grandma,

who sometimes still goes dancing

with the widower cobbler from the village,

now that those elves do all the work.

Even if he was a smoldering pillar of manhood

(or wolfhood)

how would that have helped?

It's not like he seduced us into his stomach. 

Not like he batted his eyes

and showed some chest

and told us how beautiful we were

as we crawled into his belly. 

Sexy wolf?  Ridiculous. 

Here's the truth:

He was a wolf, big with big full eyes

and big ears and big sharp teeth. 

His paws were big enough to knock you senseless

with one blow,

his appetite and his jaws big enough

to swallow you whole. 

His stomach was big enough to fit two people. 

Being eaten was fast and it was hot and it was wet

and it was over before I even knew what was happening. 

Being pulled out by the woodsman was like being born,

like fireworks and waves on the beach

and a gasp of air when you've been holding your breath. 

What's sexy about that?

And if I have grown up to become a wolf hunter,

a leather- and wolf skin-wearing hellion,

it seemed only natural,

and what I do with my wolves

is my business.

Megan Engelhardt has previously been published in the Silver Boomer books anthology, From the Porch Swing.

Image: Jessie Willcox Smith

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Mandy said...

i LOVE this!! I was going to try to pick out my favourite lines, but that's impossible! I like them all! :)

Angelika said...

That's great. I always enjoy those "What would it really have been like?" retellings. This one's a good one - not too gruesome, but with plenty of realism!