Saturday 18 February 2023


The Wolves at the Door

by Jane Muschenetz

when the doorbell rings, I think like a mother thinks, in little steps
pounding to the entryway, My Heart,
inside my body (which is inside the bathtub) ready to leap…

she is neither city-folk nor country-wise,
my Zoom-blooded girl, my nightly tucked away treasure—

will she remember to not blindly open
the door, like the little goats in the story who outsmarted the wolf? or
will I need to rise, slick and streaming through the house
grab her to safety, like all good mothers, coiled to spring
even the ones taking a quiet bath on the last day of their menstrual cycle and
especially the ones who follow the news cycle?

will she remember to pretend, like I taught her to,
that no one is home? or at least, to ask who it is at the door
and come back to me (even though I just told her
Mama is not to be disturbed unless it’s an emergency)?

when the doorbell rings, I think like a Jewish (Black/Asian/Native Am./etc…) mother thinks
of all those things
I have not yet taught her

* * * * *

Ukrainian-born, Russian-speaking Jew, Jane Muschenetz came to the US as a child refugee from the USSR. Her first chapbook, All the Bad Girls Wear Russian Accents, is forthcoming in 2023 (Kelsay Books). Connect with Jane at, and in various publications.

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