“Up the Wolves” by The Mountain Goats


Last year, in Rome, I visited the Capitoline She-wolf, her ready stance, stylized zig zag on her back, and her bambini beneath her, striving for sustenance. My daughter pointed, lupa! and eyed her many teats. For a decade, The Mountain Goats The Sunset Tree, was on my “walkman,” i.e. whatever iPod I hadn’t yet misplaced. Running trails in Nebraska, beaches in California, or on the streets of Boston, I sped up while “Up the Wolves” longed for justice and maternal reunion. I ran surrounded by poems, recovering from late nights spent with friends I loved to an almost uncomfortable degree. I floated “from branch to branch / lighter than the air,” and other times I sang the abrasive, “it’s gonna take you people years to recover from all of the damage” to invisible naysayers. This song unfolded holographically, cathartically, mirroring the protean concerns of the end of my protracted youth. When I missed home, it missed its Mother. Always, the vocals promised, “There’s gonna come a day when you feel better.” One day, walking the trails of Villa Pamphili, carrying my second bambino, it occurred to me I had become the wolf.

-Heather Green

HGPhotoHeather Green‘s translation of Tristan Tzara’s Noontimes Won will be the inaugural volume in Octopus Books’ Poetry in Translation series. Her translation of Tristan Tzara’s Guide to the Heart Rail is forthcoming from Goodmorning Menagerie. Her own chapbook No Omen is available from Love Among the Ruins.

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Contact Jackie Clark: jackie [at] coldfrontmag [dot] com.

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