Amina (August) by Edie Rhoads


I unhooked and took her down
hand warm and worn
like a spoon silvered with use
aloof I fed her,
listened to her flat face sing.
Her wholeness stung
but I knew in her youth
she was an ancient wolf,
how proud. She was—
my feet could not stop
their restless edge
until she foaled and I rose
whole from the bed.
Her teeth were stumps
one eye wide and white
the other a blood red cloud.
How low are our wants,
I knew her the way
ice knows the lake
as something covered
bell to bell, sill to sill
keeping the cold in.
My heart a lid, a bellows
stove against her loaned breath,
nipple to tongue touch.
All I can remember
is a home I owe her
and how we will hold out

this ledge of sky
like a lover’s blade
sealing the heat left by need
that cuts and joins us.
Heeled, healing, sunk
between layers of skin
and mountain. What is
the proper use of night?
Night is a house for bats.
Or is it a coal lined halo
that yields to us our fears
over and again until
we choose to tame them? Finally
night is a dark table
the moon plates. Her bleating
want begets our dreams.
I shook myself awake
and found her at the bed’s foot.
A sweet snout, a belly,
the ache of an itch
walking across my chest.
We two are done here, calling
like a thief for help,
wolf wolf, as the sky
takes in a new color.
Name it: Amina like the lining
of a silk kimono. Sleeve
am I, with her unsunned arm
inside me.



Edie Rhoads earned an MFA in poetry from New York University, where she was a New York Times Teaching Fellow. Rhoads’s poems have appeared in such publications as Post Road, Blackbird, The Salon, and Indiana Review. Her first book, The Day Bat, was published in 2011 by Honeybee Press.