Prose Poem: "Red Riding Hood Remembers"

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Red Riding Hood Remembers

how the room smelled of wet dog when she entered; how his too large eyes were white saucers and his voice was ground gravel as he said, Throw your clothes on the fire; how her red cloak curled and hissed and finally turned black in the flames; how soft his fur beneath her grandmother’s gown; how his claws tracked sharp lines down her skin, and she said, I want to crawl inside you; how it was so, so quiet in the wet, dark of his belly.

She remembers how the dark was split open by hard, blunt light; how she was pulled limp, naked and sticky from the wolf’s womb; how the woodcutter wrapped her in his tree trunk arms, which smelled of cedar and rotting leaves and earth, and he kept saying, over and over, It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s going to be alright; how she stood in the scratchy, wool shirt, while the woodcutter stuffed the wolf’s gut with stones and stitched it closed with twine; how the wolf hit the river with a plop and then sank down and down; how the mud squished between her bare toes on the lonely shore; how she had not once, not once, ever asked to be saved.

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Author's note: This poem was first published in Linden Avenue, Issue I, June 2012.

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