1766 c/o Daisy Lafarge

wolves and mermaids
a matter of perspective


my lover has gone hunting
hunting the Beast of Gévaudan
he has melted the wedding silver
down to bullets
that will settle in wolf flesh
like men in new found land

they say the Beast is thrice a man
they say it has eaten up villages like
ribbons of meat, bits of children
snagged on its teeth. They say it is
Godless and prefers the flesh of girls

the huntsmen have taken our dresses
and silks, they strut in the forest
to lure the Beast. Around trees they twirl
and kick up skirts, with guns and knives
strapped to their backs. For this gravest
of games they may play like girls

the men-girls are aflame with the
chase; shooting all that they see
with fur and four legs. The half-deads
come limping to my door, leaking their
tell-tale trails of blood. Once this would
have had me burned as witch - but now the men
have their wolves, and their savages

I heard that wolves once
suckled two babes, feral-milk
fed, who dreamt up a city that was heaven
on earth. Shut out of its gates, the old
wolves howled. They learned to sit still
and cry mute, drooling their rage into the stones


my lover has gone to mutiny
to hunt the wolves that chained us
in this great dark slut of a mermaid’s belly

the wolves told us to make their wolf-teeth smile
then they told us to help shine their teeth

we pulled out their teeth and have become a great mouth
swallowing the wolfskins which are even paler
as they squat in the mermaid’s throat
fingering their warm dead gums,
sliding down into the pool
of a jewelled and precious gut

the mermaid will keep them always inside her
we will dance on her tongue
til she spits us home