A first draft.

If I saw you downtown, or on the bus,
I would call you Grey Wolf,
because that
is the only name I knew you by,
at the age of eleven
(By twelve I was swimming instead).
You were tiny, and your name
A sign of your lack of pretension,
Your hair was grey as anything.
Woman who taught me about
Flint and steel, and spring thaw,
How to measure my heartbeat,
and let’s not forget the snowshoes.
You all had names in our ritual.
Rick was Akela – I would say,
With the rest,
‘A-Ke-La, We’ll do our best!’
Names from the Jungle Book.
Proof that our culture is British,
When it wants to be.
We made pilgrimage for Lord Baden-Powell,
To see a footprint, from when
He visited the Canadians,
Like Jesus visiting the Indians.
(According to some.)
If it was so important,
Why didn’t anybody read us
Stories from the Jungle Book?
Is it because it was PC
To use it as a naming book,
But that Kipling was an
Orientalist, or something?
Or was it less deep than that?
Was it because nobody reads
in Pointe-St-Charles?
And then there was Connie.
Not Messua, or Bagheera.
She chose no name.
But she was more like a Beaver.
She was a Wolf, only
Taking care of Beavers,
Like you, Grey Wolf, and Rick,
Our Akela.
How many Akelas, in how many
Troupes, of Beavers, Cubs, Scouts?
How does a Beaver change into a Wolf?
Ask Mowgli, the boy with two brothers,
A bear and a melanistic panther.
To be honest, I always felt like
Our Akela was kind of a jerk.
(Another diminutive for Richard is ____.)

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