Werwolf

Steve Ely

At bay in wounded country, panting across
the loping snowfield for sanctuary of pines.
Hounds bungling the line through folds of worried sheep,
discharge of oaths and anxious shotguns
barking off the trail. Torn throats and sucked blood:
constables, collaborators, conscripts and their whores.
From disembowelled cottage to massacred farmyard,
the identikit’s identical: bristling trapezoids
hackled with ice, scissoring carnassials;
eyes like fiery opals, bright as lamp-post piss-stains
in late October snow.

Nightfall cowers militia in barracks, cringes peasants
to rosaried hearthsides. Doors bolted against the wind
and worse. Darkness prowls the town’s dirt-streets,
its growled-breath misting the windows of the tavern,
where oil lamps blaze and carousing farmers blare.
Plank-door slammed off its hinges: shadow
of the man-wolf, forming out of night;
grey steel gun-barrel, lit gaze and dripping maw.
Shankill’s chalk-voiced elocution                                    breaks
the howling silence:
                                        Trick or Treat?