until it was memory

i am grieving for this wolf         hole where
her heart should be          my cloak dyed red
from her blood       regret washes off
my hand         who holds her
now that the hole          has become a stone
     so heavy     it sinks her ;

eternal dream

   ; fever dream,   where every single thing to eat
   is one step      a head        where every turn
is a gun-toting grandma      firing     warning shots
   leaving                     passive-aggressive voicemails
wondering whether       i’ve found
   a good job                  a good man yet

the wolf hunts because she is hungry       cuts wood
because she is cold          pretended to be someone
she is not      because she is human       this winter
has been hard                  on every         body

i cannot forgive grandma       but cannot
fault her            for killing friend     (apparent
foe)                                              i, too,        value
my own life first                       i, too,       strike
before i am struck                    i, too,
would prefer to eat                  before i am eaten

this winter has been hard       so we will boil
her head            and make soup
grandma says    we are wolves too
we must be
if we want to survive



Read the rest of Overland 243

If you enjoyed this piece, buy the issue

Or subscribe and receive
four brilliant issues for a year

Jennifer Nguyen

Jennifer Nguyen is the author of poetry collection When I die slingshot my ashes onto the surface of the moon (Subbed In, 2019). Jennifer’s work has been published in City of Literature Summer Series, Liminal ‘Interiors’, Scum Mag, Meanjin blog and more. Jennifer was previously a recipient of the Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowship for poetry. In 2020 she was a Poet Laureate for the City of Literature Poet Laureates of Melbourne project.

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate.

Related articles & Essays