"Lupine" by Jennifer MacBain-Stephens


Under the snow I shed my girl skin and wait. Tiny fat birds sit on the branches, quiet, the snow is six feet deep, the ice crusty. It is zero degrees when my girl legs bend under me and numb into hibernation in the dark snow cave. I shed my hair and nails and teeth. I know what’s coming, under the moon. My wolf body grows from the inside out. My voice swerves unfamiliar turns into growls. The crust of the shell girl slips on a cape, sashays into the woods. Now there are two of us. The cocoon I left and the prey that got away. I chase the figure, chasing myself into the underbrush. My coat glossy under the moonlight, I can smell her body. So close. A cat chasing it’s tail, I pounce on the cape. Stare at her blood bitten lips, steady my kill. She has turned crone. Losing my taste for the past, I’d rather choke than swallow nostalgia. I let her go.

Blind, fumbling around in the dirt, she scrapes the ground, looking for a garden plot, looking for her future, in worms.


Jennifer MacBain-Stephens went to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and now lives in Iowa where she likes to rock climb. She is the author of four poetry collections and fifteen chapbooks. Recent work is forthcoming in the Westchester Review and Sobotka Literary Journal. She also hosts a free, monthly reading series sponsored by Iowa City Poetry called Today You Are Perfect. Find her at http://jennifermacbainstephens.com/.

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