La Femme Rouge: Redux
(Red Riding Hood, Aged)
What I know is more than thorn
and thistle, whistling through
an oak forest, trees large as barns.
What I know is Wolf,
and that cannot be reckoned;
for I have been inside
Him, and have seen through His gold eyes
and smelled the world.
This was the choice: to be taken whole
as I was then; or,
to be eaten
bit by bit –
By you, my dear.
Of what did I dream?
At night, I ran a familiar path. The stars smelled bitter.
I spoke as human—resisting
the long throat cry.
Each wolf has a girl inside—
What was it like?
His eyes, his scent, fur, teeth—the tunnel—his long lope.
we grew too large
and were released
a ballerina en pointe, in red shoes;
or a Charleston shaker, cake or tightrope walker—always hunting
for the moment
when lifted into leap
we were undone—
I rubbed myself with smells:
poppy, wheat, the stalks of
contained fields. Nothing. I smeared
myself with the offal
of the pack. But I could not
bring them back.
That fable that you’ve read?
I can tell you this:
I was a girl, that much is true. Not innocent,
but virgin. We make too much of innocence;
perhaps we mean ignorance? But I digress.
Many times I walked in that forest, humming and
talking to myself. Singing in a low tone. Calling,
I realize now.
All those years outside
I saw distance and
felt the damp between my thighs.
There was little I didn’t do: the short
needle, a long affair, an intimate drunk. I
rubbed against the world trying to break back in.
You see, they thought they’d saved me. Wrapped me
in a white gown; fed me
I am tired, but here is an old woman’s secret:
Kill them all, they will return—
you’ll draw your fear through you
like an arrow to the heart. I know
what I know:
The world will burn black.
The mountains will roll their snows
Down upon your cities.
And you, two-legged, thumbed speaker
Will feed the earth, and will be gone.
And the world will be silent for an eon.
Then the Wolf
Will raise a new word,
And that word shall be Need
And we, we shall be
Read the Rumpus review of Veronica Golos’s Vocabulary of Silence.