The Wolfman Goes Gray by Noel Sloboda

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Narrated by Fred Haag

The Wolfman Goes Gray by Noel Sloboda
Illustration by Sue Babcock

No longer, he fears,
will villagers tremble
at his devil’s hour howls
when they see how the night has
begun to bleed from his coat.

The barkeep sloshes more
well whiskey into his bowl
trying to console the creature:
at least he isn’t losing hair
like so many his age.

But as the monster runs
claws he’s gnawed ragged
across his skull, he finds
no comfort in lustrous locks.
While he laps up bourbon,

he wonders what led to the slivers
of winter streaking his pelt.
Should he not have sung
apocalyptic lullabies to the moon?
Did the two-timing Ilonka

curse him after she fell
for that guy named Larry?
Reasons don’t matter much,
he admits, catching his misty
eyes in the mirror behind bottles

into which other aging nightmares
crawled then disappeared—
and he swears that the silver
strands in the middle of his brow
look like a bullet.


BIO: Noel Sloboda is the author of the poetry collections *Our Rarer Monsters* (2013) and *Shell Games* (2008) as well as half a dozen chapbooks. He has also published a book about Edith Wharton and Gertrude Stein. Sloboda teaches at Penn State York.