Excerpts > Winter 2005

David Moolten

Boy Raised by Wolves

Not the packís socialized carnage or yowls
Of mercy in the wild childís gut wrenching story,
But North 10th Street, a boy crouched against a dog
On the kitchenís stained tiles, his packed bag
In the hands of the caseworker there to save him
By rending him away. Itís a lick in the face
That comes closest to fostering love
Not the systemís forest of bureaucracy
Or the door slam of his late motherís sister
Back from cleaning up other peopleís messes
In hotels to smoke in her robe at the blinds
Furiously high. Itís her gimpy stray
Of just as humble pedigree, a bitch,
As sheís called without contempt, who smelled trouble,
Crept off the torn couch as when the muscled
Boyfriend returned ten seconds after leaving
For his stash, her ears down, her forbearing eyes more
Human than sentient, Samuel Johnsonís dog
Of despair which Goya painted in a last
Nameless mural, yearning from a sickly
Brown pinnacle of earth, the whole world
The chain that holds her back. If this boy drew
On his blank cracked plaster heíd get what he gets
Anyway too many nights according to the state.
Her he wonít, a trifle of sticks and bones
Heíll outgrow into a mean, aloof maturity.
But right now theyíre fused together, adhere
Like paint and wall, peering over the brink
At the rest of their days, no instinct for how
The worst happens for good reason. Housebroken,
Dumbly loyal, she lets him have his brief
Handful of fur, lets him bury his head
In her side, in that primitive mood, grief.

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