Northern Prairie Wolf
Paul McLaughlin

This afternoon, as we watched from the donut shop on
50th Street, a solitary gray and white snow squall
swirled out of the black spruce muskeg bush
that stretches from the Arctic tree-line
all the way down to just outside
our northern prairie town,

loped swiftly across the worked-out fields and
worn-down fences that still, barely,
separate us from the
wilderness,

hesitated,

then pounced on us with gusting paws, batting at
our old pickup trucks like they were
tundra mice.

When it tired of this game, it rearranged the soft bed
of dry snow that had already blanketed our
streets and alleys and curled down on top
of us, shedding so much snow-white fur
that we couldn't see the boarded-up
false-front doctor's office
across the street

Within minutes, the glass door of the donut shop drifted shut
and for an hour we were the ones who were
trapped.

Then it caught an urgent scent in a canine dream
and bolted off to the east, sucking an ice-
blue, frost-biting cold snap
in behind it.

2000

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