UNSCATHED

Wolf (or is it a crocodile) crossing the bottom end
of the page, moving from left to right.
It has freshly stepped in, hesitant, one could say
as if lingering still in the corner.

Take a closer look, and you’ll see it is on wheels.
You will also notice the slight shifts in tone
(brown to tan, burgundy to rust) and in texture
(here woven, there simply patched)
and the suture lines, and the joints
fastening various parts of the contraption.

Over all, the room is airy and pale
childish, almost festive.

The girl is in bed, top right corner
donning her woolen coat, hood up, pointed
like the roof of a fancy dome, a pagoda or a mosque.
She looks ready for an impromptu party.
Perhaps, a game of hide-and-seek.

No, she’s not afraid of the mechanical toy
violating her virginal den. She has realized
how frail, tentative, slow is the intrusion.
And those hurriedly sewn fasteners stapling
the torso and limbs, holding in place the jaw
keeping ears and tail from falling apart
make her think of the scraps of cloth she digs
out of Grandma’s ragbag.

Spoils of ancient apparel, mostly lingerie
sporting half of a pressure button
coated in verdigris, the vestige of a hook
tinted black, bent like an arthritic finger.
A lone useless hook, like a broken bridge
vainly probing the void.

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