The Wolves

By Frank Stanford 1948–1978 Frank Stanford
at night while the dogs
were barking
Baby Gauge and I crawled under the fence
with knives
we made out like the rattlesnake melons
were men we didn’t like
the new moon ones were wolves
I would cut a belly this way
he would cut a belly that way
the flies
came around the sweet juice
it was blood to us
we tasted it we licked it off the blades
we decided not to kill the wolves
we wanted to be wolves
we stuck the knives in the ground
the moon shined on them
we turned the pilot caps inside out
so the fur would show
that way when we crawled
under the bob wire
a little piece would get caught
we wouldn’t though
we wanted to leave trails
but no scents
we tore the melons open we licked the blood off our paws
we wanted to be wolves
and in the morning all those dead men
with their hearts eat out

Estate of Frank Stanford © C.D. Wright

Source: You (Lost Road Publishers, 1979)

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Poet Frank Stanford 1948–1978

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Living, Death, Relationships, Pets, Nature, Animals, The Body

Poetic Terms Free Verse


Born in 1948, Stanford was a prolific poet known for his originality and ingenuity. He has been dubbed “a swamprat Rimbaud” by Lorenzo Thomas and “one of the great voices of death” by Franz Wright. He grew up in Mississippi, Tennessee, and then Arkansas, where he lived for most of his life and wrote many of his most powerful poems. He attended the University of Arkansas from 1967-9 and studied engineering while continuing to . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death, Relationships, Pets, Nature, Animals, The Body

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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