The Heart of the Giant

An image of a wolf, standing alone on a mossy outcropping. It looks slightly to the left of the viewer, and is framed by tree trunks in the background.

Of course I knew it wasn't a dog.

I had my reasons for choosing to go along,

for accepting gifts I didn't ask for.

Pardon my saying so, he said, trying for casual,

but your sharp little secrets are beginning to rust.

It won't be long before they cut a hole in your pocket

and everyone will know.

I looked at him stonefaced, opting against reply.

If you want, he told me, I could eat them for you.

It's the sort of thing wolves do.

This story is not about waiting to

see how things turn out.

Good and bad are just

incomplete stories we tell ourselves.

So in the middle I gave the wolf my secrets

and decided to improvise.

What should I call you, I asked,

given our present intimacy.

My name is Thelonious, he replied,

but you can call me Whizgig.

It was the wolf who helped me find the giant.

Or the ogre, some might say

and it's true he had done some things

people objected to

even though they knew the road

and its end well enough

and traveled there under no compulsion.

Maybe I don't look like a warrior queen to you.

I just wanted to find my sisters

and the people they had once loved

to see if any of the damage could be repaired.

Or maybe just to see.

To sit by the well and make my offerings.

A sprinkling of cornmeal for the crow,

a pinch of ash for the fire elements,

a striped turkey feather from home

for the spirit of this land.

You'll never undo quickly

the things that were years in the making,

or generations.

Wolves and giants have their own agendas,

like everybody.

And it is well to remember

that we are not separate from

wolves, giants, wells, fire, or

each other.

This world is the only delicate egg

that contains our single heart.

An image of Lisa Creech Bledsoe, a person with light hair pulled back into a ponytail. She wears a dark jacket and smiles into the camera.

Watched by crows and friend to salamanders, Lisa Creech Bledsoe is a hiker, beekeeper, and writer living in the mountains of Western North Carolina. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of two full-length books of poetry, Appalachian Ground (2019), and Wolf Laundry (2020). She has new poems out or forthcoming in The Blue Mountain Review, American Writers Review, The Main Street Rag, Sky Island Journal, Star*Line, Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, and River Heron Review, among others.