When the little girls on the playground
threatened the boys with a kissing,
and they, slick with danger, ran
like wry hares, he made short work of it,
got ready his cheeks, mistook a step.
Now such generosity is lost on them,
his awkwardness thought sabotage,
and untimely glances which have
followed him since loving boyhood
turned like Actaeon’s hounds.
It has been harder game for all
since the older, changed child gave out,
golden, the new rule: each should turn,
by moments, hare, hound, hare.
It’s a bad curse with two cries.
He gives tongue to rough myth or shrieks
in briars as dreamed dogs bear down.
Still may the old knowing that grows
men’s hearts fix him on a bone,
his shape no more dissolve mid-step.
Old form shakes him like this, by the blood.
He comes from folk who once wived as wolves.