They’ve been dead for decades, since long before I was born.
My mother saw them on school trips: two white wolves
caught mid-leap, suspended in eternal blue twilight,
endless arctic summer. I stand just where I can see
the darkness inside their panting mouths, the empty air
between their front feet and the unbroken crust
of snow—they haven’t landed on it yet, though they throw
their shadows ahead of them. It’s almost inevitable
that the tail of the left one will graze that
low-hanging branch, and a few wet clumps of snow will
shower down as they pass. The painted Northern Lights,
the flat horizon-line they run to. I am eight, watching them,
and nineteen, and forty: the silent velocity of their feet,
of my heartbeat in the dark, the pockmark
panic of rabbit tracks before them in snow.
Chloe Martinez’s poetry has appeared in The Collagist, Waxwing, The American Journal of Poetry and elsewhere, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. A graduate of Boston University’s Creative Writing MA and the MFA for Writers at Warren Wilson College, she lives in Claremont, CA, where she teaches on South Asian religions at Claremont McKenna College. See more of her work at www.chloeAVmartinez.com.