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Jul 16, 2009

How to Eat a Wolf by Sharanya Manivannan: a poem

Does all lust start and end like this? Don't get me wrong. I loved my wolf. I held him tethered like a pussycat. I nursed the rumble in his belly with hands gentle as a burglar's.

Does all lust start and
end like this? Don’t get me
wrong. I loved my wolf.
I held him tethered like
a pussycat. I nursed
the rumble in his belly
with hands gentle as a burglar’s.
He lived on milk
and blood and ocean. He
had violets for his furs.

It’s just that he was
beginning to devour me.
He nuzzled me with claws,
fondled me with fangs
sharp as yearning
He snaked a tongue so
hungry in its kiss it
turned my body to salt.

How do you douse a
dervish swirl? I asked.
Devour it, you said.

So I fantasised
about eating his balls,
rolling them in semolina
seeds and roasting them
golden. I got blooddrunk
on the thought of the
crisp tender cartilage of his ear,
left to simmer in tequila
and cilantro. The dry teats turned
sweet when baked with cinnamon
applesauce, or drizzled with chocolate.
The tangy musk of austerely steamed eyelid.

I set traps.

Mine is the deepest void,
the deepest void you’ll ever know.
And so I lured him to a well.
A wolf can drown in its own
wetness. But mine swam
and lapped and doggypaddled
until I waded back in to get him.

Mine is the darkest smoulder,
the darkest smoulder you’ll ever know.
And so I conspired to let him burn.
A wolf can poach in its own juices.
But mine danced on coals and leapt
ablaze, until I pussyfooted back in to get him.

I became desperate.
I preached to my wolf
about suicide, proselytized
about reincarnation. Come back
as a sleepy kitten, I said.
Come back as a hibernating bear.
Come back as a snail with a flag trail of surrender.
But my love was indefatigable. It was
volcano and oceanic tremor. It was a black lace bra and
too much jazz at 3 a.m.
My love was as big as betrayal.
I pleaded and pleaded until

you finally looked up and said,
You can only kill a wolf
you don’t want to have, 

and only then did I see that

your love
was exactly
the size of two fists.


‘How to Eat a Wolf’ is from Sharanya Manivannan’s Witchcraft (Bullfighter Books), reprinted here with permission from the author. I savoured this book over several months, and read over certain poems (such as this one) slowly, and over again and again. The poems are about owning your heritage, your sex, your pain, your femaleness and your stories. They are responded to – like the best poetry – with both the intellect and the senses. Strong images recur – of stars, of blood, of earth – there are ruptures, pain, and stains. The language is of body and environment – cycles mythical and eternal. Love is celestial, but then, romance is attended to on earth, at its base, in its needs and nature and imperfections and the deep devastation of its loss. Some of the poems are dark, even morbid, in resonant ways. Others are celebratory, many are mischievous, inspiring and sexy. Have a look at Sharanya’s blog here, and follow her on Twitter.

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4 thoughts on “How to Eat a Wolf by Sharanya Manivannan: a poem

  1. Allen davies

    interesting and brutal- very potent poem

  2. Benjamin Solah

    Someone came up to my from the Festival and took a photo of us. That was cool.

    I’ll probably come to one of your SPUNC things.

  3. LiteraryMinded

    Oh, don’t be shy! I was shy to talk to Chris Wallace-Crabbe but I ended up doing so, hoorah!

  4. Benjamin Solah

    I love to subtle mordidness in this poem especially. Thanks for sharing.

    P.S. Saw you at the tram stop before we got on for the launch of the MWF program but was too shy to say hi.