Cyphers Magazine


Publishing poetry, prose and art since 1975

Two Fabulists

By Andrea Ward

One doodled wolves in margins and spelled
them in scrawl so urgent that they tore life-size
from her copybook, padded between rows of pupils
who turned back to see the fire door spring open,
who pressed against windows to watch the pack
lope across the sports field and around the gym
towards the shortcut to the coast road and the station.

The other, her courage kindling, conjured
a juvenile dragon abandoned since his hatching
in the derelict garden of a ruin high over the railroad –
dragon with no kin to mirror his fabulous to his desolate
self. And the class felt for him, but winced
at his diet of rats, fox cubs, pigeons, broken bottles
and (just once) a wino he had scorched and scoffed.

The myth took hold. Classmates swapped sightings,
rumours, a dream of moonlit wolves thronging
the railway platform after midnight, coursing
the tracks southward by the coastline, scaling
a rock slope, weaving through brushwood to the dragon,
who, smelling something kindred in their ravening,
reared up to match their baying with breathed flame –

whereupon the wolves were stilled, awed by his gold-green
iridescences, his flailing head, ridged and carbuncular,
his thorned and thrashing tail, his wings cranking open:
so that the dragon, seeing himself seen, flew free to search
for other wonders, while flame-eyed wolves remained
to be glimpsed in after-years along the railroad, in parkland,
near sports fields, moving always on the margins of belief.

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