Kept the Wolf

by Daria Uporsky

Where the shards were buried—
sun’s cold eye, tilted trees, pavement. Only now,
I’m learning where everything else. His hands
when he broke all those bones, the cracking pain.
Where the apathy pressurized and hardened
over time. Even the nurse. Blond hair loose
around the ears, fingers like withy on my skin.
I clawed her face when I woke up, taking off
haphazardly for the forest, for the bouquet
of dirt. For the anosmia of snow to replace
the stink of him. To where blades of mountains
would fell a helicopter, running down the flavor
of bitterbrush through elk heart. Some folks say
they saw me—a flash across the road, a wolf shape
under the apple tree. Fish and game said impossible—
no data, no tracks, no dead calves. For seventeen years.
Snowpack. Ravens cawing me deeper into seclusion,
revealing to me its prowess, its slight eroticism.
Like on moonless nights, forest behind me like a
cape. How I edge along the field, how I imagine
he is there, for me to find. What I might do, what I
might say. To be given the chance I thought I wanted.
But there is nothing. How too much can become
nothing, become undistinguishable from the rest,
the pile having lessened until it’s just a place.

Daria Uporsky lives in Madison County, North Carolina, where she works as a writer and marketing consultant for small businesses. Her poems have appeared in Sky Island Journal, HitH Review, Valparaiso Review, Eunoia Review, and elsewhere. Recently winning a 2024 Pushcart Prize nomination, Daria is writing toward her first book of poetry.