GOING HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS WITH LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD
Any pretense splinters once you see the property,
back beyond the ceasing sunlight
after miles along a driveway paved with gravel and profanity.
The porch warps and fades, its eyes swollen shut.
Unplucked birds dangle from limbs,
a stump spills dry rot under rusted axe.
This place is human. It has a mouth.
It has wings. The woman you might love
grew up here, learned to read here,
slept under this fog, escaped to here
and then from here. You cannot lay a hand
on her. You can no longer doubt
anything she says. She has tasted
the wolf's hot breath. She knows danger
is a synonym for possibility. She can show you
the shortcuts to the abandoned mills
and mines: these hills choked
with places to disappear. Downwind,
the smell of rendered animal flesh,
preserved fruit. You stop. You rest.
This is real. I'm sorry, but it is.
SELF-PORTRAIT WITH GOOSE GIRL
The horse's head is supposed to be comforting,
dripping bloody reminder of love and possibility –
to be lost is to be alive.
Flesh offers its own kind of precision,
and the moment I wish I remembered
is the first time you looked at me
in a certain light – door ajar,
page half-turned. Drag me
through your streets
in a barrel lined with nails.
THE FROG PRINCE'S MONOLOGUE
Patience disguised as hunger. Hunger
disguised as touching. Spelunk. Quake.
Your bauble sinks in my pond,
all shudder and ripple and disappearance.
This is mystery, tragedy, cautionary tale.
This is the price. This is what is lost
in the retelling, the falling, the transformation.
Unwrap me without damage, kiss me
one million times. Nothing changes.
You have to throw me against the wall.
You have to anger, deflect, shame, decide.
We are constellations wrenched loose from sky –
sudden, blazing, too close to ignore.
GRETEL IN LOVE
I asked for the hills. I asked for the climb.
Poured gasoline. Struck match.
Ever since, life has rolled into smudges:
yellow stain, ragged gasp, inheritance.
There is no such thing as unlost.
I wake, imagine hands on my thighs,
razor wire, the taste of oranges.