He’s sanded down his teeth,
given up meat
Whilst packs of his shaggy brethren
rip the bellies out of badgers
and turn rabbits inside out
he’s in the moon-lit garden
planting basil and brassica,
biting back his howls.
He’s become a birdcage on legs,
all ribs and hollow belly.
“One cannot live on flowers alone”
I say as he chews his way through
his second plate of daisies.
He’s a changed beast.
Flesh hasn’t reddened his tongue
since I brushed the oily fur
from his eyes
and rubbed compassion
into his scratchy pelt.
He loves me gently as a lamb.
At night he wears mittens in bed
to buffer his claws,
Gaffa tapes the bite behind his lips
and dreams of blood.
IMAGE: From Little Red Riding Hood by Felix Summerly (1843).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gaia Holmes lives in Halifax, UK. She is a freelance writer and creative writing tutor who works with schools, libraries, and other community groups throughout the West Yorkshire region. She runs Igniting The Spark, a weekly writing workshop at Dean Clough, Halifax. In her spare time, Gaia is a DJ for Phoenix FM, Calderdale’s community radio station. She plays accordion with the band Crow Hill Stompers. She has had two full length poetry collections published by Comma Press: Dr James Graham’s Celestial Bed (2006) and Lifting The Piano With One Hand (2013).