Issue No. 19, Winter 2016

Fur
Katharyn Howd Machan

“Why did she talk to the wolf?” asks Maia. “Why didn’t she ignore
him?” —Caitlin R. Kiernan in
The Road of Needles

Because he’s a little black cat
rescued from a dumpster.
Because his eyes gleam
tawny pumpkin
and Halloween is near.
Five claws and an almost
sixth on both his too
long paws: who can resist
hell incarnate? Girls
need a beast who promises
soft, the creature who purrs
wild and tender. Forget
his scratch will call forth blood
the shape of an ancient key:
his pointed teeth are full of moon
and he grins
with the pronoun me.


For three and a half decades Katharyn Howd Machan, picking up where Rod Serling left off, has taught creative writing at Ithaca College in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. Her specialty courses, besides in poetry, are Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy, Women and Fairy Tales, and first-year seminars called Fairy Tales: The Hero’s Journey. Her poems have appeared in 32 published collections (most recently WILD GRAPES: POEMS OF FOX [a kitsune shape-shifter]) and many magazines, anthologies, and textbooks.