Volume 68, Number 2 · Spring 2019

Altarpiece with Wolf and Door


That mother

wanted me      pretty
meadow-minded, tinseled, and hooved
in blue, sugar-licking
the fence      She wanted    me fielded blond
brays floral and    never thirsty, some honeysuckle hem

my lips pin curl plump and twill

wanted my words
sewn in hers: never
a girl spilling her   never words swarming from seams

only glass
bees   (pretty)    filling the blooms
between us


That mother

thought she could rid
me of teeth, the candle-dark   hunger, ice    and violin, the prayer:
hair of the father    wolf that bit
the roof in two—


the wolf in me      sleeping off
its forest hackles, forgetting    its fur was no father’s   was her
own    ink-slick   growl and hum


But this one

is a secret        fox who comes
in our lavender sleep      and forgets—

who carries chimes on her back like breath

Comes daisy and yarrow
to this pine-rimmed nightfield    Mother, I

invent you in     draw
me   flagging vixen-gasp   draw me

and witness how you once
wanted  what I      wanted: grass
and thistle

mother I   can’t stay  here
but draw me a sapphire door:

call me in
feed me stars and stars

Sally Rosen Kindred is the author of Book of Asters (Mayapple Press, 2014), No Eden (Mayapple Press, 2011), and Says the Forest to the Girl (Porkbelly Press, 2018). She received two Individual Artist Awards from the Maryland State Arts Council, and her poems appear in the Gettysburg Review, Pleiades, and the Kenyon Review. She is a poetry editor for the Baltimore Review.