Darren Bifford
"Wolf Hunter"
(final version)


So there you are, little wolf, sole king of the Arctic,
you’ll howl to the moon and be the beast
of picture books, frighten my children, eat
poor farmers’ chickens and cats won’t you?
Isn’t that what you were made for—to show
your teeth, bristle and growl and run away?
But now, here, for us you’ll be showcased, look!
Fast as you can you sprint across the plateau,
scurry your best getaway routine, what part-
chance in a million you’ve got, wolf, I’ll tell you
the odds are stacked against you but what
do you know of odds, of being the prize
of a two-year waitlist to this one ride north?
It’s what I’ve paid for. I’m almost disappointed.
You’re slower than I expected; all that effort
to beat the speed of this measly twin-propeller,
pretty much for nothing. It’s like you treadmill
the same piece of earth over and over. Enough.
What are you, wolf? Where are you going? Hush.

I’m told now to take a shot. Fuel runs low
and we gotta be back before dark. So, little wolf, 
you might as well hold your full-throttle pace
across the scree: easier to aim. There’s a rivet here
on the window ledge to gully the gun barrel,
set its scope to your barn-wide belly, x-mark
your shaking heart. You’re almost dead before
I start, but there’s a moment you linger
a little more alive; time like a room we enter
together, a second or so before I pull the trigger.