Cracking Wolf

Gretchen Bartels

A child pointing in the
Arizona dark
whispers that she can see
the wolf ghosts.

Amidst the cactus garden, 
softly glowing plastic husks
shaped like wolves and pups
stand ghastly silent
in the sand.

The wolves invade,
cracking the garden 
like an egg,
a whip,
an ancient oil
refined and synthesized 
into immortal plastic.

The inorganic replaces
the organic.
The statue replaces
the lobo hunted
to near extinction

in the past,
reintroduced but still shot
dead in the present.
Child, I see them too.


Gretchen Bartels-Ray lives and writes in San Diego, California and is an associate professor of English at California Baptist University. Her poetry has appeared in The Ekphrastic Review and KAIROS Literary Magazine, and her flash fiction has been published in Every Day Fiction.

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