RED RIDING HOOD (by John Arnold)

Out beyond my window
in twilight’s winter forest,
out in small clearings
where hutted villages cower
from the ceaseless probings of wolves:

the convention is – ignore them
and they’ll go away.
But still they come: they took
Granny from her lonely cottage.

The menfolk shoot them
yet say nothing
of the glimpsed metamorphoses,
their guilt, the piled bodies
of young men and women,
lips and genitalia frozen
beneath leaden skies.

And I say nothing
of the formless terror
seething in my gut, tinged
with a sweet moist pleasure
that musks my thighs …

Tonight the woods are stilled
by moonlight: the baying
echoes through me
as the covers slide.
My patch of curls glisten,
quiver in the silver light.

Now I am waiting
for my scent to reach them,
for the weight of paws
upon my breasts,
dense fur upon my belly,
and the lupine thrust

that will seal my new allegiance;
remove me far,
far beyond the village pale.

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