Il Lupo Mannaro

I wrote the first draft of this poem while on a solo hiking trip in the Vosges Mountains in France.  I was staying in an old farmhouse one night and the electricity kept going out. It made me very uneasy but it turned out to be a good setting to compose spooky stories.

Even if I was asleep, I could feel that you were awake at night
like a werewolf           pacing a mountain pass.

We were foreigners to each other.
The language you spoke to tell me something Important
was different than the language you spoke in bed, your mother tongue.

I have, of course, a recording of your voice
the same ten questions I asked everyone.
You couldn’t remember the story of how your parents met.

I let my mother listen to that interview once
and although she is a church lady
she said Wow
you two must have had great sex after that…

Signs came and went:
an ill-wish placed above our door by a jealous ex-lover
unquenchable thirsts

Then, you set out for the woods
and I never saw you again.

Sometimes when I’m not expecting anyone and the doorbell rings
I still think it’s going to be you
darkening the doorway
no suitcase, no coat, just you

I wonder if sometimes you pause to take a sip of water
on the trail towards Jungfrau
if you kick the snow
and remember how you used to wake me up
from under the covers, hours after midnight
to kiss me or hold me.

The dream of the Alpinist.

Stephanie Staab is an American poet and translator living in the Black Forest. Her work has appeared in Crab Creek Review, Ligeia Magazine, Summerset Review and others. Her first chapbook, Earthling, is available now from Selcouth Station Press.



2021 Prose Chapbook Winner
Resistance, Sue Mell (an excerpt)
A Conversation with Sue Mell and Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar, Prose Chapbook Winner and Finalist, Maria S. Picone, Managing Editor

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