Journalism In Verse


Not Wolf

in Environment by

Not red, not Mexican, not lowland.
                      No bonnet, no white-tailed, bighorn.

Forget black foot, leave the beach
                      the brow-antlered, San Joaquin, San

Miguel, no woodland, no salt marsh.
                      It did not fly, no shimmer, no flint

of wing in early morning.
                      No burial, no checkerspot, no call

home to its mother, grizzly—
                      never that. No spot, no hawksbill.

It did not warble, though it was said
                      to warble, red-bellied, cockaded.

It was not of the river, not yellow-
                      faced. No American burying,

great white, beautiful, slender, short-
                      nosed, sucker. It had no June,

no shiner—especially no shiner.
                      You have to understand, it was rumored

to have cave mold, tidewater.
                      Definitely it was not monarch

with its New-Mexican ridge-nosed
                      skink. No, it came with a razor,

a cutthroat, there was nothing small-
                      toothed about it. It leatherbacked

carrying slackwater down the Devil
                      River. We are certain it had monster

in its eastern, band-winged, fritillary.
                      There was no ivory-bill to speak of—

no metalmark, no Texas blind
                      like you would expect from a humpback,

a whooping, island, rice, darter loyal
                      as a flattened musk, but twice as deadly.


Danielle Mitchell is the author of Makes the Daughter-in-Law Cry, winner of the 2015 Clockwise Chapbook Prize. Her work has appeared in Vinyl, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Eleven Eleven, Animal, Nailed Magazine and others.


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