The Heart of the Giant

Of course I knew it wasn’t a dog.

I had my reasons for choosing to go along,
for accepting gifts I didn’t ask for.

Pardon my saying so, he said, trying for casual.
but your sharp little secrets are beginning to rust.
It won’t be long before they cut a hole in your pocket
and everyone will know.

I looked at him stonefaced, opting against reply.

If you want, he told me, I could eat them for you.
It’s the sort of thing wolves do.

This story is not about waiting to
see how things turn out.
Good and bad are just
incomplete stories we tell ourselves.
So in the middle I gave the wolf my secrets
and decided to improvise.

What should I call you, I asked,
given our present intimacy.

My name is Thelonious, he replied,
but you can call me Whizgig.

It was the wolf who helped me find the giant.
Or the ogre, some might say
and it’s true he had done some things
people objected to
even though they knew the road
and its end well enough
and traveled there under no compulsion.

Maybe I don’t look like a warrior queen to you.
I just wanted to find my sisters
and the people they had once loved
to see if any of the damage could be repaired.

Or maybe just to see.
To sit by the well and make my offerings.
A sprinkling of cornmeal for the crow,
a pinch of ash for the fire elements,
a striped turkey feather from home
for the spirit of this land.

You’ll never undo quickly
the things that were years in the making,
or generations.

Wolves and giants have their own agendas,
like everybody.

And it is well to remember
that we are not separate from
wolves, giants, wells, fire, or
each other.

This world is the only delicate egg
that contains our single heart.



NOTE: You can read the fairy tale “The Giant Who Had No Heart In His Body” here:

Photo by Jorge Gardner on Unsplash

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