the wolves within

There are wolves in my jaws
My teeth grow to fangs to cage them:
long and curved,
stalactite white
ridged enamel-sharp inside.

My gums were pink,
but now they’re black,
seeping silenced howls,
growls deadened.
Spiny yellow sees the chasm:
tooth-bellies rent by claws that cannot breathe.

I’d thought to starve them
(the wolves within)
taste their melting bones drip down my throat;
but each day, their pelts grow thick,
their bellies fuller, fatter.
They breed and teem and press together,
a pack of sweat and fur and seethe.

If I swallow now, I’ll choke
But if I speak, I’ll scream—
So I shut my teeth, those fang-sharp bars, on
bloody claws in fierce assay—

I cage those wolves within and with them,
all the words I cannot say.