Update on Werewolves

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Update on Werewolves

Margaret Atwood

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.

Notes on Update on Werewolves:

1. I was frightened as a child by Abbot and Costello films, and also by Quebec folktales about the Loup Garou.

2. After which I wrote a poem -  in 1986 - called "Werewolf Movies." 

3. In those days, all werewolves were men. As in "An American Werewolf in Paris."

4. But now they aren't. Angela Carter has a wolvish female. There are female werewolf novels, and female werewolves in the Twilight series. So this poem is an update on the earlier poem.