Hunger

Wolf that I was,
I had no names

for the different shades
of hunger—the green

ache of one versus
the pink pang of another,

the sharper edges
versus the softer.

All I knew was need,
the opening of

possibility, a way
to be full. Belly-down

in the field, I watched
this new hunger with

my predator’s eye—
the way it rippled

like rain showers
around the grass,

the way it sprang
to the sky, dragging

its colors behind it.
Wolf that I was,

I watched it like
prey, but it wasn’t.

It wasn’t a hunger
for tearing or blood,

though it would be
later. In the sky

it breathed clouds
into the shape

of smaller wolves—
slow and whole, or

leggy and quick,
shredding as they ran.

The kind of hunger
that would fit

an entire body
inside of it.

When I nuzzled
the clouds, my snout

came back cold.
I slunk through

the woods, empty
and dreaming.

Every little voice
could have been

a daughter, every
hooded shadow.

In my dreams,
I swallowed clouds

that hardened into
stones. My body was

an infinite well to drop
infinite stones into,

a belly to slit open
and stitch shut.

In those dreams,
the knife does not

even wake me up.

Claire Wahmanholm

Claire Wahmanholm

Claire Wahmanholm is the author of Night Vision (New Michigan Press, 2017), Wilder (Milkweed Editions, 2018) and Redmouth (Tinderbox Editions, 2019). Her poems have most recently appeared in, or are forthcoming from, New Poetry from the Midwest 2019, Copper Nickel, Beloit Poetry Journal, Grist, RHINO, and 32 poems. She lives and teaches in the Twin Cities. Find her online at clairewahmanholm.com
Claire Wahmanholm

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Author: Claire Wahmanholm

Claire Wahmanholm is the author of Night Vision (New Michigan Press, 2017), Wilder (Milkweed Editions, 2018) and Redmouth (Tinderbox Editions, 2019). Her poems have most recently appeared in, or are forthcoming from, New Poetry from the Midwest 2019, Copper Nickel, Beloit Poetry Journal, Grist, RHINO, and 32 poems. She lives and teaches in the Twin Cities. Find her online at clairewahmanholm.com