Poetry Journal

Issues / Volume 5 Issue 2 , November 2015


The Feast of Valentine

Martin Dolan

  Today was the festival of the wolf, 
  whose stalking and rending is forgotten, 
  who stared at paradise with yellow eyes.
  Today is the day we exchange hearts
  of flattened paper bought cheap from elsewhere.
  There is no blood. Teeth are no longer sharp.
  What big teeth they once were, as curved, as sharp
  as the blade that sacrificed child to wolf
  while his clear blue eyes were looking elsewhere.
  Blood puddled on stone. We have forgotten
  the price of safety, forgotten how hearts
  were torn from warm flesh as light drained from eyes.
  See where a young girl with the same blue eyes
  walks the wild path. A hidden knife is sharp
  in her basket. It is not enough. Hearts
  can falter even before the grey wolf
  lopes from the wood. She has forgotten
  all that she was told. Her mind is elsewhere.
  All the things we need to see are elsewhere, 
  hidden around the corners of our eyes.
  Is there something we have not forgotten?
  The scissors that slice red paper are sharp.
  As I cut I could whistle like a wolf, 
  making what cannot be bought: conjoined hearts.
  Once there were twin brothers with killers’ hearts
  left to die in the desert of elsewhere.
  What does it mean to be mothered by a wolf, 
  to see some sort of love in yellow eyes?
  No matter. They grew and in one sharp
  burst of anger all love was forgotten.
  There is so much that we have forgotten
  or buried in the place we call our hearts.
  Our vagueness takes the edge from all things sharp; 
  our tame love has lost the map to elsewhere
  and bright sunlight hides the moon from our eyes, 
  but the shepherds’ god always was a wolf.
  Watch in moonlight for the wolf, forgotten
  in open eyes, absent from bloodless hearts.
  Wildness still lurks elsewhere. Its teeth are sharp.