The Needs of Humans

I am in need of a manicure. / A manticore. A man to cure.

A portrait of poet Sarah Wolfson

I am in need of a manicure.
A manticore. A man to cure.
A cure-all. A curiosity. A
costume shop. A wholesaler
of the sea’s calcic treasures.
A pair of puddle jumpers, size four.
An extra U-lock. A vampire
metaphor. Some zebra stripes
to describe an angry octopus.
A sheep to take me back to
childhood, an electric fence,
and the perfect willow reed
with which to reach out and
receive the shock. I need
the rumour of a rabid fox
to spark a lifetime of imagined
illnesses. Some thin ice to wave
at the many ways of escape. A
good milk cow. A single rectangular
pupil to uphold my idea of
ideation. A skin rash, hay induced.
A small brook with a slippery rock,
a curtain of moss. An afternoon.
All of it. And ticks, drinking
themselves to perfect sickness
by the four-thousand-fold on
the hirsute moose’s hide. Someone
close. Someone who knows.
Someone who where there’s a will,
there’s a. I need a way. And a
why. Moreover, I need a lone
black sock. An open foundation.
A short report about the ordinary
mating habits of crickets.

Sarah Wolfson
Sarah Wolfson is the author of A Common Name for Everything, which won the 2020 A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry. She teaches writing at McGill University.

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