To Eat Just Once:
Remembering a Ranger Lecture at
Yellowstone National Park
After they kill, the wolves eat just once.
The pack, all tooth and jaw, with ribcages that jut
like opened Texas toothpick knives, feasts.
Their gray bellies fill and sag with new meat.
They used to eat twice or even three times
from downed prey, a straggling old deer or a slow fawn—
their dead eyes, like tumbled obsidian, still catching light—
the body dragged into an old tree
or quickly buried and left for later.
However, ranchers started poisoning
hidden carcasses so that at the second
meal, the wolves, bloated with pain,
would die. Some, however, did live
and taught the others to eat just once
and leave like a swift wind,
a scattered gray line galloping into night.
—Kevin Rabas Lisa’s Flying Electric Piano
I am ending where I started, at the beginning of April, with a poem about wolves. I have never met Kevin Rabas, but he was kind enough to allow me to reprint the full text of his poem. In this interview with KCUR 89.3 he offered three tips for writers.
Thank you Kevin and congratulations on being named the next Poet Laureate of Kansas!