Count the Wolves

Travis Tate
Count the wolves.

Your mother warned you,
each evening, in a polite
way. She calls you baby,

won't let you be damaged
by what claws at her ankles.

She ignores them, wildly.

Count the wolves.
& their bloody teeth,
primed for meat.

You amount to nothing in
their deep set black eyes.

Sky freckled black
with minions, grackles,
attacking white clouds.

Count the wolves,
What are they doing here?

Mother says everywhere.

Climb back to the street
your born on, the top of,
a crease where two hilled
streets meet, grocery, bus,
mountain, next to death.

This is where they wait for you,

Don't be afraid.

Count the wolves.
Then dismiss them.

Travis Tate is a queer black, playwright, poet and performer from Texas. They earned their M.F.A. in Playwriting and Poetry from the Michener Center for Writers. You can learn more about them at