Carey Salerno

White Wolf

There are dogs going mad after a few
days in kennel rows. Rottweilers

mostly, we give them three days tops
until restless kennel legs

jump them in circles, barge
torsos at rusted pen doors. Their anemic lips

snarl at offers to play outside
and we say time up— fearing wet jaws.

She’s the same and we name her Suisse, purebred
Blanc Berger, white and striking, unspayed. Snow

ushers her in because she isn’t good
with children, has a slight food aggression problem,

though we hold her for breed’s rescue. I chaperone
her in our courtyard and she runs me

like a slave, growling when I escort her indoors.
If other dogs are brought to play, a flash of teeth.

The diva dog won’t let me pet or touch her ivory―
bristled coat when I slip the braided

blue lead onto her neck,
noticing as she prances back to her cell

the gleam of her yellow eye, the way

wet soil rises up ivory legs.



"White Wolf" appears in Shelter (Alice James Books, 2009).