Patricia Lockwood


There Is a Growing Movement,

They Have Introduced a Motion


To reintroduce wolves to Fontanelle, Iowa. According

to the minutes of the meeting, “Our landscape needs

a few layers of finish, let us welcome these brain-eaters

and their oniony breath.” It is a town of hilly women,


a town of arc welding men, and the babies

born to them are pure, digest appleness alone,

sweat what—perfect children, with never more

than one highlight in each eye. “Prepare your young ones


this way: say to your daughters, they will make a window

into you; say my brave sons, my lion-faced doorknockers,

you are between the wolf and what he wants.” The wolves

in question are Russian, they scoop caviar straight out

of women and girls; they are literate, they are current,


they grayly advance in column inches. “We are prepared—

though we have no town surgeon, our bookbinder

has seen everything, he is calm and self-possessed. Even

the land is ready. Let our hills erupt with gooseflesh,

and let our hills horripilate with sweet and panic grass.”


There the minutes begin to disintegrate, and read, “Enter

a wolf with a firstborn, while his masterminding mother

screams: My son, my subheading! I see they have gnawed off

your hands and feet. My slippery, my unreadable sans-

serif! Where does it hurt, my baby?

              My dimensionality…

again, the infant groans, then topples, falls flat on his faces.

Steppes wherever we go, shriek the wolves, and descend.”









The Murder of a Man Who Took Weak Science for a Wife


According to the custom of our backwards country,

we became engaged as newborns and married with our first

words. “Moo goes cow,” she gurgled, and I fervently responded,

“Come live as a cud in my cheek, wife.” “Woof goes dog!”

she continued. “Indeed. Come live in my land and become

like my land, full and voluptuous as rabies foam.”

“Glub goes fish!” she finished. “Let me swim inside you,


famine belly—at last you are large enough

to be worth feeding.” It was, I saw, my duty to teach her. First

lesson: the fat of the land. “The earth is round as a pig professor,

and crackling with intelligence.” She shook her head, suddenly

fluent. “No, the earth is flat as a pie graph, and green with percentages

of grass.” I mourned for a moment the disappearance of her pink

preverbality, but still I stood my ground. “The earth is round,”

I repeated. “Round as a hurtleberry, and round as a superfatted soap.”

“Flat as a lemon battery,” she countered, “and shallow as a surfactant,

                                                                                    Sir.” “Pretty painting,”


I said, “with all respect, the invention of perspective

comes late to you. Observe your world and understand me.”

“Respect my beliefs,” she pleaded. “You marginalize me

worse than the eyelid of a popeye.” “Now you begin

to repent,” I shouted and slapped my stomach. “Oh, wife!

Send a knife between my flabby obliques and see how deep

the world goes. Send a knife into the bowels of this pellet-

dropping creature and see how round the earth is.”

“I will,” she cried, and mortally stabbed me.

“I forgive you,” I croaked,

“for deep in the sea, the sword

and the scabbardfish love each other.”



Patricia Lockwood’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in American Letters & Commentary, Boston Review, Cincinnati Review, The Journal, Quarterly West, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Witness, and other magazines. She lives in Savannah.