O Wolf, O Tuscan

August 4, 2010

Walter, I just want to sit on my ass and fart and think about Dante.
—Samuel Beckett

All this fractures the Wolf. The ancient leaves
amid the ancient woods, wind riffling wind
in eddies she can see but she can’t hear,
the braying of a fatted calf which she
could eat, if she could hear thy call, O Wolf.

The tympani pretend to be a thunder roll,
the crashing cymbals mean to simulate
the distant lightning, all the strings—cello,
base, violin and viola—play the
pizzicato of rain commencing…

The Wolf sits to watch—what?—the floodlights fill
the stadium? the baton poised? the crowd
about to have their daily dose of not
quite silence served up yet again? She hates
that they have come to watch a prophecy.

It’s raining full blast now, the Wolf’s exchange
for music, how things balance out, how rain
fornicates in the forest, with its pools
and puddles, how it tenders lakes and rivers
and shadows… It can’t be! Ahead she sees him.

She sees Dante, the poet of the prophecy,
the one she has to drown.  It’s why she’s deaf.
She will not hear him wail. Kill him so he will rot
in hell before the other poet comes. Kill him
and spare the world another poem about

another world. The rain and music grow
so dense around her soul. She is so quick,
too quick for him to flee. She drags him still
alive, drags him to the lake of his heart.
Sink and die. In Paradise only bubbles rise.

The tympani pretend to be a thunder roll,
the crashing cymbals mean to simulate
the distant lightning, all the strings—cello,
base, violin, viola—play it soft,
so soft, as if the rain is about to start…

The Wolf and I walk the slopes of hell.
When Farinata and Cavalcante
rise up to ask her, ‘Who were thy ancestors?’
and ‘Where Is Guido?’ she howls. O Wolf.
O Tuscan. She howls.

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