23 Jul My Brother, The Wolf
By Steph Matuku
Every month, this happens.
My little brother and I go to bed and he pulls the curtains wide so the round moon can shine through.
The silvery light falls to the floor, slides up the bed, and lands on my brother’s face.
His cheeks begin to itch and twitch.
He squiggles his nose and wriggles his lips as bristly hair grows all around.
His teeth grow sharp and pointed.
And when his arms turn into legs, he jumps out the window into the night and doesn’t come back until morning.
It is very strange.
One night I decide to follow him.
I lie very quiet while the moon shines and his hair grows.
I wait until his teeth are sharp points and his two legs become four.
And when he jumps… I jump too.
My brother runs across the garden. I follow him.
My brother runs down our road and along the main street.
I run too. People think I am chasing my dog.
My brother runs until he gets to the zoo.
Then he jumps over the wall and disappears.
I don’t know what to do. The gate is locked and the wall is very high.
But nearby is a tree that looks easy to climb.
I scramble and scrabble up to the top and over the wall into the zoo.
Some of the animals are asleep but many are awake.
The lions roar. The owls hoot. The kiwis scuffle.
And then I hear another noise. It sounds like my little brother laughing.
I walk down to the cage at the very end and look through the bars.
There lies a big wolf with three cubs playing next to her. One of them is my brother.
When he sees me he smiles. He comes over, licks my hand and goes back to play.
I watch for a while and then I go home.
And as I wait for him to come back, I wonder:
Is my brother a boy who is sometimes a wolf? Or is he a wolf who is sometimes a boy?
I’ll ask him in the morning.