Poems by Cassandra Whitaker


I Make a Roof Out of the Wolf


Eating on its back, broken and racked,
stretched, propped up with bones
coughed up from a belly with no bottom, the wolf
belly. I sit on its heart, a plump red cushion
and lean against a pelted blanket, drinking
from a skin of want that never runs out
of thirst. How kind for the wolf to remind,
even in death, it owns my home; old knowledge
of the body, a home. Settled in softness, waiting
for softness to assume its body, I make a roof
out of the wolf. I brace its beaten fur
with its bones, I keep my knowledge dry.
I keep my knowledge free
from sun rot. The moon cannot
find me, sheltered by want.


The Wolf Eats


When the full moon asks, the wolf turns
its emptiness inside out and fills up
the moon inside the belly. Flesh
is plentiful. The earth has made so much
flesh. It is the one thing
emptiness does not tire of, flesh.
It is not precious. It is not
precious, flesh. It is more plentiful
than ever before, flesh. Emptiness demands
so much. Emptiness requires
all. The wolf listens, tracks, senses
emptied of all but emptiness. There is no end
to it. Everything the wolf owns
is spent as the wide open open.  The wolf
eats and eats until the moon is full
enough to ask for more. There is always more;
it is the one song the wolf has written, everything
the wolf owns is stolen from a mouth
swallowing a mouth swallowing a mouth.


Cassandra Whitaker (they/them) is a trans writer from rural Virginia. Their work has been published in or is forthcoming in Barrelhouse, Fourteen HillsKitchen Table QuarterlyThe Little Patuxent ReviewFoglifter, Evergreen Review, & The Comstock Review. They are a member of the National Book Critics Circle.



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