A comely, emerald-eyed she wolf
reclines in her den beside four
wooly, black, new born pups,
their eyes and ears not yet open.
The hungry pups wiggle and squeak,
their mouths reflexively sucking.
As their mother gives them milk,
they voraciously suckle her nipples.
Satisfied for the moment, they nod off.
While they slumber, the dutiful
mother tenderly licks her litter.
From nearby brush a rabbit leaps!
The wolf, her weariness outweighed by
hunger, pursues a welcome snack.
A shot is fired! The wolf lies dead!
Her tawny-brown, lifeless body,
as beautiful in death as it was
in life, reposes on a grassy slope.
Her agouti-patterned guard hairs–
with alternate light and dark bands
of black, white, brown and gold–
glisten in the bright morning sun.
In the untended den, her infantine
pups cry and whimper, their mouths
sucking for teats that will never come.
In the town nearby, people
celebrate the killing of a wolf.