Mass-Pet-Wolf-Teeth, Liam Kelley

Sometimes I wonder
if I could keep
a wolf pet—
mighty as a bell-crown—
that I might take it out
under the big orange moon-haze

and it wouldn’t eat me
or crucify me in some hole
to the right of the bathrooms.

I would sit sideways there
in my front-left seat,
door cocked open
and music pealing
from the car’s strike points
while it sat in the snow—
all ears and eyes.

The bathroom light
would hold it there
like boxed ascension
in some smoker’s coat pocket,
and the magpies would fly
from tree to ground
to cathedral-top.

We wouldn’t speak
of ‘No Parking’
signing left-and-right
below a circled
red diagonal line—

there would be understanding
between my pet and me
that neither would strike the other—
that neither would go into
either illuminated, balls-out door
without first nodding
or swinging an invite
via hand-sign-of-the-cross.

No war of man that couldn’t
be won. No tongue that
couldn’t be clapped. Save for the
stare of a lunar undercut—
the attrition before the apartness,
the separation of days
or good friends
across won’t-be-long days,
the Piss Christ frozen
in ice boot prints.

No leashes nor memories, only
burning full-bodied company
to let this whole trip go
and go and go—
ring and ring dusky
and stroll—that good
Mass-pet-wolf’s teeth
I think one day
I’ll turn on its belly
and toll.


Liam Max Kelley is a Chilean-American playwright, poet, and 8th grade language arts teacher. He is the program director at Stain’d Arts, an arts non-profit based in Denver, Colorado, and the co-founder of RuddyDuck Theatre Company, a local absurdist theatre group. He writes poetry to avoid making an argument, to highlight life’s horrid ambiguities, and to turn the heads of those around him. (Vanity becomes him.) He writes for himself. Art is something to be examined and something to be blurred. Something to be wrecked. And maybe something to be changed for the better. You can find him co-hosting the Stain’d Arts Open Mic at Denver’s Whittier Cafe every third Friday of the month. (Or groveling in a hole.)

Liam Max Kelley recommends “The Cry” by Federico García Lorca.

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