I am a Dead Wolf Talking to Boys

Kelly Gray


In story with OR93

When they celebrate my death, I know what it means to be hit by a car. I am knife pawed. I am the same as the trees, except I am wild forest dog. Like a witch with lamb full belly, yelled out of town by mouth lore. Boys come to my den crying. Their trucks are worthless on my narrow roads. Chicken feet in my pockets, I greet them. Threaten to eat them, then laugh too loud. I relent: Let’s walk together. They tell me how the forest is growing too close to their beds, they can’t pull out their bodies to piss. Oh boys, sit around my feet, all four. Story time: wolves are tale told to keep your children safe. Sentient hunter, let’s trade rumors. 15 county lines, Lebec, Lebec. I was moving across mountains and valleys as the leaves curled scarlet into autumn. I want to show you who you are: A man who cheers as the car causes slaughter. Set these men as tale and all told crumbles. They will never understand the nuance of their fathers molesting them, they hate the forest for its silence. I am the same as the trees, except I am wild forest dog. I hide my want for these boys in the peak of my wolf shoulders. I undress facing the audience. Watch me howl. The crowd gasps. Perverts. Still, my heart is vast, an unfurled red thing in my chest, even when they look to hit it roadkill. I am the same as the trees, except I am wild forest dog. Dead on the highway, undressed till my ribs shine white, lamb spilling forth. 


Kelly Gray (she/her/hers) is a writer and educator in Northern California on occupied Coast Miwok land, deep in fire country. She is the author of Instructions for an Animal Body (MoonTide Press) and the audio chapbook My Fingers are Whales (Moon Child Press). Her writing appears or is forthcoming in Passages North, Pithead Chapel, Hobart, Under a Warm Green Linden, The Normal School, Barren Magazine, River Teeth, Lunch Ticket, Atticus Review, Superstition Review and elsewhere. She’s been nominated for Pushcart Prizes and was a Best of the Net finalist, and her favorite food is donut. You can read more of her work at writekgray.com.