“Update On Werewolves” by Margaret Atwood
by Angela Quinton
Jan. 24, 2019
(image: Thomas Hawk)
This morning I noticed that one of the most popular posts on this site is, oddly, about a poem. That got me thinking about werewolves in verse, which sent me back to a poem by acclaimed writer, teacher and essayist Margaret Atwood, whose work you may have most recently seen adapted on Hulu.
Update On Werewolves
In the old days, all werewolves were male.
They burst through their bluejean clothing
as well as their own split skins,
exposed themselves in parks,
howled at the moonshine.
Those things frat boys do.
Went too far with the pigtail yanking –
growled down into the pink and wriggling
females, who cried Wee wee
wee all the way to the bone.
Heck, it was only flirting,
plus a canid sense of fun:
See Jane run!
But now it’s different.
Now it’s a global threat.
Long-legged women sprint through ravines
in furry warmups, a pack of kinky
models in sado French Vogue getups
and airbrushed short-term memories,
bent on no-penalties rampage.
Look at their red-rimmed paws!
Look at their gnashing eyeballs!
Look at the backlit gauze
of their full-moon subversive haloes!
Hairy all over, this belle dame,
and it’s not a sweater.
O freedom, freedom and power!
they sing as they lope over bridges,
bums to the wind, ripping out throats
on footpaths, pissing off brokers.
Tomorrow they’ll be back
in their middle-management black
and Jimmy Choos
with hours they can’t account for
and first dates’ blood on the stairs.
They’ll make some calls: Goodbye.
It isn’t you. I can’t say why.
They’ll dream of sprouting tails
at sales meetings,
right in the audiovisuals.
They’ll have addictive hangovers
and ruined nails.
“Update On Werewolves” was first published in 2012 on Atwood’s Wattpad site, and has circulated since. I’m taking the liberty of reposting the whole poem here because I want some of its powerful, sneering, Jimmy-Choo-and-blood energy to permeate this site.