words and images by mk swanson
A Wolf I Met in Tallahassee

A Wolf I Met in Tallahassee

I was in Tallahassee a dozen years ago, and there I met a woman who was a writer like me, but also a mother. She told me two unrelated stories: one was about the man she had been living with who turned out to be violent to her and to her children. The man was still a danger to them. Another was a dream she had that was haunting her. In it, a great gray wolf came into the room where her children were sleeping. She always woke up before the nightmare could come to what she saw as its inevitable conclusion.
I told her that if it had been my dream, I would see the wolf as my totem animal, and understand that I would be able to turn into a she-wolf in order to protect my children. I said that I thought the dream showed that she had everything she needed to protect her children, that she was powerful.
She thought I was nuts. She was sure the wolf was her nemesis and not her inner power.
I wonder sometimes how the wolf is doing.


  1. This piece of writing really moved me. It lingers. It, along with the piece of yours that I posted on Slippers reminds me that you are a poet.

    How could I forget.

    Thank you for this one.

    Oh! And in a funny sort of p.s., when I went to do the word verification to post this comment, the "word" I was to retype was "wistell." That is EXACTLY what I meant about this piece you wrote: Wistell.

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