He died a transanimal, he wasn’t man and he wasn’t animal. He wasn’t a wolf as my mother is a wolf, how I am a half-wolf. He was a howl from my mother’s mouth, she mated with him & gave birth to me. There was my mother before him & there is my mother after him, & all the howls since him that have died after leaving her mouth. Sometimes when I hear my mother howl I fold up inside myself & wait, I wait for a possible father I know will never come. Sometimes I sit & think about all my unborn brothers & sisters, how we might all fit in a house or a hole in the ground, I sit & think how a howl isn’t a hole, how a howl isn’t whole. I think sometimes how I want to dig a hole & stay there, how I want to bury us all together. Maybe we can keep each other warm there. Maybe there we can make each other into something new.
SARA SHEINER is an MFA candidate in poetry at Virginia Tech, where she has been the recipient of the 2014 Poetry Society of Virginia Prize, judged by Rachel Zucker, and the Emily Morrison Prize in Poetry, selected by Dorothea Lasky. Her work has recently appeared in littletell, The Volta, and The Meadow. She lives in Blacksburg, Virginia, where she teaches composition and continues to be a poetry reader for The Atlas Review.