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A twist on an old fairy tale.
Far from here there are meadows
Where flowers bloom, unfurling
Petals of varied hue and fragrance.
But there are wolves, they say.
So you clutch your basket tighter,
Pull the scarlet hood lower,
Say a prayer and stay on the path
That leads to Grandmother's house.
You have errands to run.
The path is long, though,
And the blossoms, just out of sight
Are so tempting -- you are tired
Of the tame beauty of gardens
You crave something wild.
So when the dark-furred gentleman
Crosses your path, eyes bright as pennies,
You stop, converse, accept his offer
To leave the path and lie with him
Amidst a riot of blossoms.
All is red there: the cloak
On which you lie, the crimson flowers
He weaves into your hair
And red blossoms between your legs
Like a secret birth.
There are teeth at your throat,
Tearing cloth and heavy breathing,
And, for a moment, there is death
The world dissolving into red --
Blood, salt, and flowers.
And when he leaves you there,
Running ahead to the old woman's house,
You think of what makes a wolf
And what makes a gentleman.
You are wilder now.
When he devours you yet again,
All charming smile and appetite,
Upon your grandmother's bed,
You do not wonder at her fate:
The wolves have claimed her.