When winter settles in,
Wild things wake up.
Cars on the street,
Buried under soft white mounds,
Become polar bears,
Their rounded backs steadfast against arctic winds.
Stark bare branches, slender and brown,
Do not belong to leafless trees
But to a herd of caribou crossing the plain.
The ice is cracked and broken across the sidewalk
Because narwhals thrust their ivory tusks
Through the surface,
Traversing the granite streams
Seeking Greenland halibut.
And your neighbor’s dog,
Yapping in the steamy window,
Is not looking at the mailman
But at the pack of white wolves,
Invisible behind spinning snowdrifts,
Howling at the winter moon.
Their primal growls and white claws
Scaring away the hazy street lamps
For a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
Watching from the window
The captive dog knows that
In a deep, dormant place,
He used to be a wolf once.