Little_Red_Riding_Hood_pg_8
NEW AGE WOLF
by Gaia Holmes

He’s sanded down his teeth,
given up meat
for me.

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).

holmes

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).