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Content Warning: bullying

Julie Stevens – Wolf Class

I felt the roar as thirty children swamped the field

their eyes towards the guard of trees,

their legs kicking back my wish to follow.

One rallied sprint as spiteful wolves

to an untamed place that held no rules

except one: leave me standing alone.

Nine years old with the weight of them all

with the hurt of knowing I couldn’t join in,

with the stench of a classroom riddled with taunts.

The flicker of shadows between trunks and branches

one dark wave from a deserter’s hand,

one single body who wanted to confess.

A friend who tore their game apart,

a friend who spat out their dark secret.

One fearless friend who couldn’t digest the carnage.

Julie Stevens writes poems that cover many themes, but often engages with the problems of disability. Her poems have recently been published in Fly on the Wall Press, Ink Sweat & Tears, Dear Reader and Café Writers. Her winning Stickleback pamphlet Balancing Act was published by Hedgehog Poetry Press (June 2021) and her chapbook Quicksand by Dreich (Sept 2020). Website: Twitter @julesjumping

Artwork: White Wolf Spirit by Wendy Hess

Wendy Hess is from Berkeley, California. As an Artist, Photographer and Author, she enjoys the Gothic, Classic, Humorous, and Bizarre side of Life. Her work has been featured in Cauldron Anthology, Seaborne, Floresta, Acropolis Journal, and Lavender Bones Magazines.

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