Risking Bone (A Warning for Red Riding Hood)
Be careful where you walk, Mother said.
Look round the other side of the trees
Like you are peeling back metaphors
And never let go out of your basket.
Never leave breadcrumbs
And never pull down your hood
If the sun goes down
Before you get to Grannies.
Never lurch forward at the lake
And never stop to talk to strangers
No matter if they know your name
Or stand there with a downward smile.
Be afraid of the Wolf who lives near the cave
And the Vampire who sleeps in the trees
The Ogre who sleeps with the rabbits
And never wakes up in winter.
Be afraid of the wind translating warnings
Hanging in the air for hours
And the huntsmen offering his handkerchief
With an unsettling emotion.
Don’t stop until you get to your grannies
And watch where you are walking
Whether staring at the moonlight on the lake
Or staring death directly in the face.