Does the prettification of our oldest stories ever frustrate you? This is not an example of that, this Little Red is making her own choices. That is not to say being awake and fully conscious makes life easy.
Little Red Terry Blackhawk
Imagine her not hooded or coy.
No inadvertent blush
to stamp her victim forever.
But let us take her
as she was in the story
having chosen the path of needles
over the path of pins.
Not a child, no father ahead
or mother behind
to frame her journey with admonition
or reward. None of this
rose petal baskets or little feet,
but a child-woman on the verge
of learning her own utility,
how to resist, be strong.
Needles, not pins.
Wit will be her weapon,
and flesh—so when she lies
naked next to the wolf, even there
bawdiness will save her
and she will tell him
she needs to dump a load.
How can he argue with the body’s truth?
What to do but wait and say go?
Imagine the darkness, the orchard
outside Grandmother’s cabin
fruit trees clouding above her
as she slips free of his bonds,
escapes into the apple-cool night,
and leaves him lying there, slathering,
stupid and confused, pulling
the rope he tied her to finding it limp
in his hands.