In a time when I still counted years
I skipped from fen to forest
with a basket over my arm,
with offal tripe and fruitcake
tucked into a pouch of love
from mother to grandmother,
and I, the intergenerational messenger,
I skipped from fern to fungi to roots
that stretched out,
angling to ensnare.
I counted brushes of my feet against the ferns
and stones against my heels
and whispers of wind
inflating the lining of my cape.
And when a thin, keening voice
wailed my name between howls at the rising moon,
I didn’t stop to let its portent soak.
I was too steeped in my love of the
But the keening voice belonged to a rangy grey figure
who stepped into my path,
on two legs,
deigning to appear more man than beast,
but his snout planed out from his whiskery face
at an indecent angle,
a cockeyed, sinister gesture
(like a butcher, all swathed in blood
but clutching flowers in his hand).
His face was athletic –
he’d chased before and he knew all the steps to the dance.
He came forward, snapping
I hid my basket of offal tripe and fruitcake,
foolishly thinking that was what he wanted,
that no thick-muzzled wolf-man was going to snap up
the pouch of love and sweetbreads
sent by my mother, who trusted me
a little too much.
It wasn’t what he wanted.
Of the feast, I remember nothing.
Only that I am glad my cloak was red,
for it hid the steepness of my stains,
and the blood on the insides of my thighs.
Skirt, Hat, Tights, & Pentacle: Gifted Blouse, Brooch, & Boots: Battery Street Jeans Sweater: The Classy Closet Cloak: iParty
Poem by me. Photos by Josh. Autumn by Mother Nature.