|Death as Dire Wolf|
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You and your pack of dire wolves circle,
reminding me, Oh Death, how much
I love you. You drive me toward cliffs
that fall away hundreds of feet to jagged rocks.
I love the terror that torments me,
the joy of a quickened heartbeat.
I feel so fully present
in this moment.
Among your dire-wolf companions, you
stand out, Death. A ragged lion-like mane
bristles at your shoulders. Your snout
stretches lean and pointy,
your teeth, attenuated and sharp,
drip blood, spittle and foam.
Yes, dear Death, how alive
I feel in your presence.
I try to laugh. You’re kind of silly,
really, so dramatic and clichéd.
I try to laugh, but choke
on fear and bile. When you rear up
and lick my face, I forget to breathe.
Then you drop to your haunches
and grin at me. Not yet,
you say, but soon. Soon enough.
We stand at the edge of the precipice,
look down together. You love to teach;
I love to learn your lifelong lessons.
I rest my arm on your shoulders,
snake my fingers into your coarse fur,
and pull you close.
Mary Stebbins Taitt