By Freya Manfred

In the cave of the teenagers
our sons screech and caw
in crow-harsh cadences
until I thrust my head inside
to beg for quiet:
“What for?” they ask,
narrowing their eyes at me
as if they’d just sighted prey.
I spy their father slouched between them,
watching a movie with no women in it:
twelve natives chase a daring naked hunter
across the African desert,
while he outwits and kills them, one by one.
I retreat, closing one door after the next
on the echo of tribal drums.
I am curious how the hunter will fare,
but all these male bodies smell
like the musky hole I found on our hill
when I was a girl of twelve:
I probed deep inside with a long stick
until a fox charged, snarling, into my startled face,
and vanished forever into the woods
behind a beautiful, blazing red tail.

Freya Manfred’s eighth book of poetry is Speak, Mother (Red Dragonfly Press). “In the Cave of the Teenagers” appears in My Only Home, (Red Dragonfly Press) and her memoir Raising Twins: A True Life Adventure (Nodin Press).