Wolf Hollow, Ipswich, MA
by Domenic Scopa

Bored with dehydrated beef the conservationist throws to him, the alpha-male Argus who lost his sole love when she snapped her leg, tangled in a thorny thicket, overtaken by the cool fever of septic shock, roams the fenced-in pasture and its amnesia. It seems that grief compels him to shuttle past the cave mouth, back and forth, back and forth, a dark dweller, like the train that crosses the horizon, transporting teenagers to the Halloween carnival four towns away, so budding couples, arm in arm, can test their boundaries of trust on roller coasters. There is no station here, but the train in its long slowing whistles a flutelike shriek, like held breath escaping, or the tenacious squeak of a hinge on a steel gate that swings shut and can be opened no more … There, he waits for her to reappear, with the rest of the pack, each pup growing greater. His brother, Grendel, earning the etymology, tried to claw the way to alpha sadness weak in any species and staff banished him to his own caged paradise stocked with plunders of deer carcasses, lemongrass, bilberries. The train passes. Argus lays down. His body shudders, doesn’t sleep. Before a bone ripped through the flesh and fur of the life he crafted in confinement, I would watch him nuzzle his nose into his lover’s neck, the two of them pacing side by side, as if to race away from our world.

Domenic Scopa is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and the 2014 recipient of the Robert K. Johnson Poetry Prize and Garvin Tate Merit Scholarship. His poetry and translations have been featured in Poetry Quarterly, Reed Magazine, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Reunion: The Dallas Review, and many others.