Maria Rosa Mills: “Haplotype”

This week the website features a selection of poems from WA129, an anthology of poems edited by Washington State Poet Laureate Tod Marshall and published by Sage Hill Press. Marshall observes, having spent his tenure as laureate criss-crossing the state, “Simply, we have many people invested in exploring and sharing how language matters. This anthology is, I hope, an embodiment of and contribution to that enthusiasm, engagement, and prolific word-energy. ” Early this week we posted poems from Jenifer Browne Lawrence and Robert Lashley


From an evolutionary perspective, it is bad business to breed dogs with wolves. Wolves are not incipient dogs, as we now know. The skulls of truly incipient dogs have been found in caves across Eurasia, mostly fractured; the whole ones fragile enough that transport back to the lab can be harrowing. These skulls belonged to what we term “wolf-dogs,” though they are neither wolf nor dogs. Science has only a handful of these skulls. Perhaps the wolf-dog line split just before a glacial maximum, meaning many speciation details may still be buried in ice. Remember the winter we spent in Spokane? The gray wolf leaping lean through frozen pines? Its fur was like a sleepwalker in a white river. Statistically, memory means little to a wolf, and littler still to the modern dog, but the first true wolf-dogs made much of it. They began to come when called by name.

Maria Rosa Mills has lived her whole life in various parts of Washington State. While writing poems, some things she’s had to google are “two unstressed syllables foot feet,” “spider eye terminology,”  “how long will i live,” and “why are thick tortillas better.” Some of the resulting poems have been published in WA129, American Chordata, The Golden Key, Event Horizon, and elsewhere.