The Hunter

by Nora Gomringer

The Hunter

You bring along cake and wine, happen upon the wolf.

He opens his pants and says:


Reach inside.

And he's standing close to your car window while he speaks

and you pray that he may not realize

that a button pressed in your red Ford

doesn’t automatically mean —

that the wolf may not lead you astray.


Finally, the key slips into the ignition,

you twist it and start the engine.

Now the wolf is mumbling and growling that you must stay,

because of grandmother.

His jaws, he says, are enormous, he will devour her,

should he not get any—cake, any wine.

This is how this marriage begins, as you stay.


And he never eats your cake, drinks your wine entirely. He always saves

a bit for bad times, for dog days.


Years pass by, until somebody comes

who shows grandmother and you the bare necessities,

secretly, of course, after work, at the rifle range in the forest

outside of town.


When once again then cake and wine are to be put out on the table,

and you absolutely refuse to dish up and fill the glass,

refuse to lift your skirt and spread your legs,

gunshots are heard.


And if he wouldn’t have died, he'd still live happily ever after.


(Years elapse, until a well is found, deep enough,

to let things vanish and fade.)

Translated from German into AE by Paul-Henri Campbell; taken from the collection MONSTER POEMS (Nora Gomringer and Publishing house Voland & Quist 2013)