Wrong-Gone Wolf

The wrong-gone wolf trails
a flag that won’t stop waving,
not even when the forest has
been flattened & abstracted
into a panel of sea-green glass,
or when traps gape like tooth-
less ancestors who built
their reputation on raising
wayward human children,
pulling the moon from the sky,
that kind of thing.
The wrong-gone wolf can lie
down & sleep beside a fire.
Rabbits graze unperturbed
in the margins of her dreams,
where she goes to hunt for
the howl in her throat
& finds nothing but clipped
syllables of command. Released
once more into her native habitat,
she laps rainwater from
the parallel tracks of a creature
whose feet never lose contact
with its enemy, the earth.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).


  1. Oh, a very nice one, Dave! I’m a bit wrong-gone myself. I’ll show this to Bev. I might be up in Nova Scotia with her next summer.


  2. Oh, my, this is so… such momentum, such crazy rightness. Yummy.


  3. Thanks, Larry and Jean! I had already powered down the computer, gone to bed, and was drifting off to sleep when the first words of this poem passed through my mind. Ordinarily I would’ve ignored them and gone to sleep, but for once I forced myself awake, turned on the computer, and grabbed pen and paper for the first draft in bed — a far cry from my normal composition process. Anyway, your responses make it seem as if it was worth the effort. I’m glad.


  4. So. Would the wrong-gone wolf be Canis lupus familiaris? One theory of wolf domestication has it that the wolves domesticated the humans rather than the other way round. Also check out Human Evolution Aided by Dogs. Lovely poem.


    1. Thanks. Unfortunately, as is so often the case with the BBC, I wasn’t able to watch that video — the circle just kept spinning like laundry in a machine.


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