Little Red

running along dark twisting paths
she dare not glance behind her
she knows
it is fangs and drool and glowing eyes
that haunt her

she trips but regains her balance
keeps running, keeps running
her skin damp with fear
unwashed hair covers her eyes

how long has she run like this
her terror, his eyes, raging behind her
at times she gains ground
nearly loses him
but those memories always
always find their way back to her trail
like a wolf scenting it’s prey

they, her memories, once took disguise
(as she sought refuge
in her grandmother’s cottage)
but that gravelly,hacking voice
and lolling tongue
and condescending eyes
told her all she needed to know
that even family, blood and bones
couldn’t be trusted

they believed his lies over her reality
(she was just a girl after all,
how could she speak the truth
when the truth was so unbelievable?)
grandmother’s little boy would never bite
and tear a young woman’s thighs

in the light of day he was beautiful
charismatic (with a dash of danger)
yet at night
he howled in her ear
as his claws ripped her flesh again
and again

until one morning when
she drew her red cape about her shoulders
and fled his lace-curtained prison
just as the sun
sleepily pulled itself above the horizon

ten years have passed
and though she had sought release
by shedding light on his evil
disbelief had shrouded their faces

ridiculed and mocked, she took to the forest
to hide her shame and scars
for now she runs ever onward and outward

but she sees a moment in her mind
when, as he nips at her heels, she whirls about
faces him, the memories,
and gobbles them down
to become the past they always were


tara caribou | ©2019

Normally I don’t explain my poetry but this I felt needed a little something said. This riff off “little red riding hood” is the story of a young woman struggling with the memories of molestation. The wolf represents both her memories and the man who repeatedly raped her. Her red cape signifies her transformation into young womanhood in the form of menstruation. Her grandmother, the wolf’s mother and their family as a whole. Her journey through the dark forest is her mental state attempting to run from shame and isolation. But there’s hope. She CAN see a time when she faces those memories and gives them the credence due, meaning she acknowledges their truth but no longer gives them power over her (gobbles them up).

love and light to you all.

23 thoughts on “Little Red

  1. A very interesting piece, especially heightening the metaphors of innocence in red riding, to the brutal constructs this world sometimes imposes. Clever seems an obvious complement, but it was weaved in a way that didn’t seem ‘pedestrian’, that you knew the reader knew but the emotions were the focus.
    A very revealing pieces of your writing talents….which we’ve all come to know and crave. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this Tara – a powerful tale told with wonderful imagery. You used the fairy tale very effectively – personally I didn’t think you needed the explanation, I thought you did it so well that it all came through in the poem.

    Liked by 1 person

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