Featured Writer: Joseph S. Pete

Canids of the Remote Wilderness


The Grey Wolf roams freely at Wolf Park outside Lafayette, Indiana,

Bringing light to visitors who swoon over tiny pups,

And gape over wolves tearing into watermelons

Stuffed with pig ears, sausages, dog treats, all the good stuff.


Compare the joy on children’s faces while

The wolves lick, chew, devour and carry off

Their summery watermelon treats

To the darkness of stereotypical tripe like The Grey,

Like a lachrymose Liam Neeson punching

A majestic creature in the snout.


There’s a darkness to lazy villainization

And an angelic light to nonprofits like Wolf Park

That seek to educate the public.


It can be easy to demonize a predator.

It can be hard to understand the vital role

Such a creature plays in a complex ecosystem.

Places like Wolf Park elucidate

Population control, a natural order and balance.


Beyond the intellectual, they present the ineffable:

Plaintive howling from across the pond,

The playfulness of pups,

The impressiveness of a wolf’s regal musculature,

A wolf’s radiantly shimmering coat of fur,

Such a marvel of insulation snow won’t melt atop it.


© Joseph S. Pete

Headshot About the Author

Joseph S. Pete is an Iraq War veteran, an award-winning journalist, an Indiana University graduate, a book reviewer, and a frequent guest on Lakeshore Public Radio. He was named the poet laureate of Chicago BaconFest 2016, a feat that Geoffrey Chaucer chump never accomplished. His work has appeared in Indiana Voice Journal, Prairie Winds, The Grief Diaries, The Dime Store Review, The Five-Two, Chicago Literati, The Tipton Poetry Journal, Dogzplot, shufPoetry, The Roaring Muse, Blue Collar Review, Lumpen, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Pulp Modern, Zero Dark Thirty and elsewhere. He once Googled the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. True story, believe it or not.

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