"Even in the kitchen there was
the smell of journey"
—Anne Sexton, "Little Red Riding Hood"
1. In a tupperware wood, mix child and hood. Stir slowly. Add
2. Turn out onto a lightly floured path, and begin the walk home
3. Sweeten the journey with candied petals: velvet tongues of
violet, a posy of roses. Soon you will crave more.
4. Knead the flowers through the dough as wolf and child converse,
tasting of each others flesh, a mingling of scents.
5. Now crack the wolf and separate the whites—the large eyes, the
long teeth—from the yolks.
6. Fold in the yeasty souls, fermented while none were watching.
You are too young to hang out in bars.
7. Cover, and, warm and moist, let the bloated belly rise nine
8. Shape into a pudgy child, a dough boy, lumpy but sweet. Bake
half an hour.
9. Just before the time is up—the end in sight, the water
broken–split the top with a hunting knife, bone-handled and sharp.
10. Serve swaddled in a wolfskin throw, cradled in a basket and
left on a grandmother's doorstep.
11. Go to your room. You have homework to be done. You are too
young to be in the kitchen, cooking.
About the Author:
Lawrence Schimel is a writer and anthologist who has published over 70 books in many different genres. He won a Rhysling Award for his poem "How to Make a Human," a Lambda Literary Award for his anthology PoMoSexuals: Challenging Assumptions about Gender and Sexuality, and his children's picture book No hay nada como el original, with illustrations by Sara Rojo Pérez, was selected by the International Youth Library in Munich for the White Ravens 2005. He has lived in Madrid, Spain since 1999, and writes in Spanish as well as English.
Copyright ©1994 by Lawrence Schimel. This poem first appeared in Black Thorn, White Rose, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, published by Avon Books. The poem may not be reproduced in any form without the author's express written permission.