Riding Hood Tales


After Billy Collins

Some nights, when the moon spills through the canopy
upon my twitching flank and gray muzzle, I dream
that I am an old man in a bespoke suit playing
mah jong with a young girl in the small house,

throwing the bone dice, eating seed cake with my fingers
as she rises from her stool to get our tea, but
there is no tea, only her slow beautiful walk to the fire
and back, surprise and smile beneath a curtain of auburn hair,

her hand conciliatory upon my jacket sleeve, as I push
the East tile to the edge of the rough oak
and tell her stories about her grandmother.

After Don Taylor

We’ve suckled Rome, trotted on the heels of Odin,
Fenrir saw through moons, had teeth
to eat a sun.

Why I Ate Her, Sans Relish
After Frank

Grandma dangled
a loose foot, Olds
propped, nitelite
making the marmalade
on her snacking tray.

Wolf As A Dialect
After Linda Sue Park

You have spoken wolf and I
speak girl to your folded ears,
your paws upon the lexicon,
one nail pointing to “redoubtable”
as I brush you hair with a

Beating the Wolf to Granny
After CyberClem

Sure, I saw the still-framed gray,
my sneakers kicking up Carpathian
forest floor, me the only daughter
on this still planet, the rest
out hunting, two vectors, one grandma.

"You gotta plan?", I yelled
to the roadside green, fat with August,
limp as a witching stick,

"'Cause, I do", sprinting the bend,
keys out, ass on fiberglass, plunk,
clutch, roar of horses.

Happiness Is A Warm Gun
After Claudia

The eye becomes target
for undistilled (but proofless)
ardor: Bang. You're succubus,

a floor rug.

The moment she drops
the (c)ape within your

prone, dead

pointed earshot,
(stop listening)
I'm home.

After Ronald Koertge

Wolf crawls thru the doggie door,
nose to cookie waft, bright
eyes on granny's pinking shears:
he needs a trim and something
to take notes with. Red arrives
wet as a badger, hood propped on a poker.

"Where's the damned remote?" Hunter's missing
Oprah. Oh. Back up. Movers came
with a leather couch, mistook
his dumbstruck eyes for aggies, tripped
on Clarence, twelve stone of gray fury,
he always hated that name.

A Wolf and An Old Woman Sit Next To Each Other
After Robert Bly

An old woman and a wolf sit on a porch
in the sun and her hand strays to his head
in the heat and he
that his age rushes sevenfold like the book
in her lap fanning time in the wind
as they breathe the gold air as she knits
and he kneels and he chews the white bones
of Red's clavicle.

Why The Wolf Is Gray
After Kim Addonizio

I love your wet belly on my naked back,
your rough tongue on my neck as I shudder
with despair for your splayed hips
which double in a strut of helplessness,
each lupine cell begging for a small
glass of milk, your gray chin
a font of teeth gone wandering.

After Teresa White

My walking stick hobbled
the moon, you thought otherwise:
hoarse panting, a shiver
at the white house.

I will stride past the knockered door,
untether the gelding,
arc grain to the pullets.

After W. S. Merwin

Even when I believed such things
in such a forest of voices
that rang as I turned
and stepped into the stream,
my heart knew there was no name
for the rush or the sound
of the space and the sun.