Five Poems by Alyse Knorr

Alyse Knorr

Wolf Tours: Day One

The wolves have eaten the children—
or so say the clients, unaware of the existence
of Junior Wolf Tours and the mandatory
separation of young and old. At the small ones’

camp they die daily in games of Graveyard,
which, according to the wolves, prepares them
to be unafraid of silence and stillness—better
hunters, all. And despite this clash and others,

no one could anticipate the staggering success
of this venture—bigger than Disney, Universal,
Busch Gardens, or SeaWorld. Bigger than
Virgin’s trips to space. Who better to demonstrate

the Call of the Wild than wolves themselves—
obviously more intelligent than any other mammal
except us. The wolves so quick to note that
everything is up for debate. No one could

anticipate their refusal to franchise. No one
ever finished a Tour with any sense of clarity.
And yet the waiting lists kept filling, and traffic
crashed the website. The unanticipated, we proudly

conclude, is all that is truly wild. But the clients
confused this with chaos and failed the outtake exam
every time. Still, they got their children back,
more dignified and feral and alone.

Media Representations of Wolves Are False and Misleading
ed. Wolf Tours, Inc.

Awake on the vista, before history and dreams—
in our chests the beginning of an argument.
We who exist in purity begin to grasp the logic:

anything said is true; every statement proves
itself by its own existence. A tautology, then:
each of the sun dogs glinting the horizon

makes a new Earth, a new you, a new
wolf pack, a new Wolf Tours. All are sun,
none are dog. Or all are wolf, all are dog.

Yet our own philosophies, made of instinct
and need, cannot withstand the wind. We
bow to our descriptors: big, bad, snarling.

We bow to these new truths, and to the two
suns, glittering off the ice at the edge
of the halo, which are equally real and perfect.

Claims that Media Representations of Wolves Are False and Misleading Are False and Misleading

When you clutch our corpse to your chest you will marvel at
our height and width, at how well-made we are for circling
and howling and leading tours of our homelands. You’ll glue
open our lips to show our incisors, narrow our eyes with a few
well-placed stitches. Save us from each other with the gentle
caress of your crosshairs. Save us with our blood aesthetic
red on the snow. This is not a Public Service Announcement—
this is not a campaign. We speak only in the language you
taught us, the language of true facts.

Wolf Tours Outtake Exam

Now and at the hour of our mandatory separation,
before I’m avowed and turned adrift,
I ask for your cool hand on the back of my neck
to hold my head in place and pick out

flakes of ash. An apocalyptic feeling prefigures
an apocalypse. Let’s not make this anything
at all. Question One: How much deeper has the city
sunk? Question Two: Before or after the fire?

Question Three: Are you afraid of the way your
brain parts link arms and spark across a chasm?
Question Four: How much worse is your fear
when you accept it? Question Five: Name

all the side effects of those little white pills.
Question Six: Throw the bottle into
the scary woods like you’re a movie. How does each
and every part of your body react

to this decision? All we ever wanted was to share
with you in our exhaustion. Solidarity is
a form of love, and both can be forced,
if you know the right questions to ask.

Wolf Tours Security Questionnaire

Yes or No

1.    Have you ever, at an urgent and necessary juncture, neglected to lie?
2.    Do conflicts and choices—actions, told in pictures—reveal your true character, or are you merely inactively dreaming?
3.    If a small girl with a ball darted across the street in front of your car, would you stop?
4.    If a small girl with a ball darted across your border, would you put her in a cage?
5.    Have you ever been convicted (have you ever felt conviction)?

True or False

6.           The sun is a large ball of fire.
7.           The sun is divine.
8.           The sun is middle-aged.
9.           The sun is split in half by a question mark.
10.         The sun is a chariot pulled by a bronze horse.


Short Essay

11.         Why the lie?


12.         Why the cage?


13.         Why the sun?


14.         Please list any weapons.

Alyse Knorr is an assistant professor of English at Regis University and co-editor of Switchback Books. She is the author of the poetry collections Mega-City Redux (winner of the 2017 Green Mountains Review poetry prize), Copper Mother, and Annotated Glass, as well as the nonfiction book Super Mario Bros. 3 and three poetry chapbooks. Her work has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Denver Quarterly, Columbia Poetry Review, The Greensboro Review, and ZYZZYVA, among others.

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