Leader of the Pack

Added on Friday 26 Oct 2012

My father was a pack of wolves. He lead and
followed in direct proportion to the needs
of his own solitary ordering. Who ran fastest.
Who shored up the sides in arrowhead formation.
Who took the high ground and who sat guard
near the entrance of his own labyrinthine den.

He was both proud gloating alpha and limping
runt with a hidden pang gnawing at the rib.
He was his own best mate. Howling at odd moments,
while others slept he sat and sang and sunk that quiet
moon. Black thoughts scrambling over his scattered
northern pack. On some nights, albeit rare, when little
cub me lay curled in a corner of our cosy hole, I'd hear
that entire pack conglomerate into one huge hulking wolf,
prone to baser, simpler things, dark hungers, lusts and griefs.

This is when I'd hear him howling through a wall.
A grey-black paw, ebony claws, clasped softly
round a moon filled glass. Yet I never did meet
the amalgamam of that entire pack.

I only trapped mere glimpses, sudden scampering
over dead leaves of a semi-broken were-man,
hunting some grim abstraction through the eerie
haunted backwoods of six decades, maybe more.

There were one or two occasions when after years
of trailing it seemed I'd cornered him. That's when
the skies would darken; force ten gales brought
blinding snows, pitch black woods encircled
all night long, dragged him, further in.

Paul McCafferty

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