THE WOLF WHO CAME TO THE DOOR

THE WOLF WHO CAME TO THE DOOR

Once upon a time there was a widow who lived
in a house on a street on a hill.
She was largely content and she didn’t complain
excepting the tenancy bill.

She was largely content and she didn’t complain
she still had her job and her home and her health.
She kept a tight ship and a garden of sorts
for the benefit of none but herself.

But once of an evening when the sky opened up
and the rain on the roof made a din
a wolf knocked on her door with a dripping-wet paw
and asked if he couldn’t come in.

He wiped off his paws and took off his coat,
so he wouldn’t get mud on the floor.
He was oh so civil and very refined,
the wolf who came to the door.

She offered him tea, which he graciously drank
which was no mean feat without thumbs.
Then he curled up by the fire and she in a chair
and they talked about where they were from,

about where they were going, and where they had been.
She asked if he knew a tiger she’d met.
He thought for a moment and then shook his head
saying it’s not the sort of thing he’d forget.

When she awoke in the chair he had let himself out.
She got up and got on with her day,
but hoped he’d come back the next time it rained.
They were friends in a strange kind of way.

And so he did, and they talked, and had tea and the like,
they had wonderful times set in store
but one night when the sky was accursedly dry
regardless he came to her door.

He knocked once, and then twice, quite soberly,
and then a third time more in haste.
When she opened the door she was taken aback
at the bite marks newly marring his face.

His hair and his coat were both matted with blood
his wounds weeping, open and raw.
She didn’t ask why, and he didn’t say,
she just bandaged his cuts and his paws.

They spoke not a word on that dry summer’s night,
which slipped on into a dry summer’s day,
when she realised she’d miss him if he never came back
so she nervously asked him to stay.

At first he was silent, then he limped to her side
and whispered some words in her ear.
She listened, and thought, and at length understood
nodding, and blinking back tears.

The woman’s husband wasn’t the first of her losses
and her dear friend the wolf not the last,
but the woman in that house on that street on that hill
is a woman at peace with the past.

By Lewis Brown

Photo: Luisa Neves