What rescues this smile from the beginning-to-curl-down corners of my mouth is my remembering the mother wolf in the Fort Worth Zoo when Katrina and I were young and students with twin babies in special take-your-baby-everywhere-you-adventure backpacks, and we stopped before the architect-artist’s rendered space as if a window into a den or a birthing clearing in an Idaho forest or even East Texas on my grandfather’s farm where I fell asleep to the yips and hellooos of wolf pups and their parents skirting the pasture of Jersey cows and calves and the bull snorting his displeasure at anything the color of shadows keeping, for now, its distance, the woods stocked with sufficient small game, which to my child’s imagination was never anything I might have carried home to the farmhouse, another pet.

But back to my smile before the zoo enclosure labeled “Gray Wolf,” and the mother wolf tall on four long, thin legs God granted for speed, a body almost as thin, her face patient, wary, at least resigned to nursing the five pups sitting beneath her, sucking the milk from her engorged teats, and yes she was standing, her eyes following each of our movements, even here in the zoo, a gulf between humans and the wild creatures grown accustomed to these other parents and children almost close enough to hug what seems familiar as the family dog, and what I suddenly thought of was that Roman bronze sculpture of the twins Romulus and Remus suckled by the wolf imparting all they would need to found Rome, a civilization preferring tribute to slaughter, what fairy tales made wolves out to be, theirs the yellow-eyed stare of persuasion. She looked at my wife and me, our babies, and we recognized all we would ever need for the long years ahead, years of fear, years of joy in remembrance.