Once I saw a wolf tread a circle in his cage
amid the stench of monkeys, the noise of musty
jungle birds. We threw him bits of doughy
bread but he didn’t see us, padding on through
some imagined forest, his nose on blood.
We began to move on in boredom when he jumped
against the bars, snarled, then howled
in rage that long shrill howl that must remind
us of another life. Children screamed and ran,
their parents passing them in terror — the summer
day became hard and brittle. I stooped there
and watched his anger until the keeper
came with a Flash Gordon gun and shot him full
of dope. He grew smaller and sputtered into sleep.