Little Red Riding Hood

David Moolten Click to

dmoolten-251David Moolten’s most recent book, Primitive Mood, received the T. S. Eliot Prize for poetry from Truman State University.  He is a physician specializing in transfusion medicine and lives in Philadelphia.

The grandmother smiled like sleep
in the way jaws sag and rooms smell like the past.
But her familiar face merely embellished
a nightie worn by death itself,
which mistook you for why you came
like a forest whatever’s in it,
and no one objected in time. Sometimes red
is just refused light, has nothing to do with desire,
Your wore a sweatshirt. Maybe it had a cowl.
Maybe it didn’t, endless analysis
the fairy tale. Your skinned knees forgave what they forgot
by healing, but not that look.
She had no teeth and her hands told yours
what nice hands. But if she gasped and her eyes widened
they could also swallow, wanted the flowers
you brought and the walls and the lobby,
a street full of taxis, the sky in every day since.