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Wolves Are Massing on the Steppes of Kazakhstan

Sarah Maguire

Close to home, their prints

darken the snow.


Come full moon,

the whole night is anguished –



stagger in their sheds


knocking the walls,

churning fodder and litter;


wide-eyed in lamplight

they buck and bruise.


Under Stalin

culls worked like clockwork –


wolves skinned from their pelts

were hung out to dry,


as cotton stretched to new horizons,

as Kazakhs ate the dust.


Now fences are mended

bolts shot home


and the shotgun propped

by the bed


is oiled and loaded.

But sleep, sleep is fitful


as the lost packs mass

on the steppes of Kazakhstan.


From The Poetry Review Vol 94 No 1 (Spring 2004)