by Jennifer Finstrom

At first, she is certain that she dreams.
But the night is so vivid and her senses
sharp as a god’s. She scents the perfume
of oak, the spice of pine. Leaf mold
explodes beneath her bare feet, and
the moon is high, watching. It is late.
In her dream, she leaves the door
open and takes to the forest path,
occasionally startling at the sight
of something moving nearby, the shadow
of an enormous wolf that seems to be
pacing her. The moon is a mute witness.
It will say nothing when she shivers
out of her night-shape and shakes
her head, amazed. When she returns
to her bed, she lies on top of the sheets,
curled on her side. The huntsman’s arm
drops over her hips. He holds her there,
safe beside him, for the remainder
of the night in her own skin.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Both myth and fairy tale have been great influences on my work for longer than I can remember. I feel that both are living things and that they can never be exhausted: they will always have something new to say.

IMAGE: “Little Red Riding Hood” by Daniel ZenderPrints available at society6.com.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Finstrom teaches in the First-Year Writing Program, tutors in writing, and facilitates a writing group, Writers Guild, at DePaul University. She has been the poetry editor of Eclectica Magazine since October of 2005, and her work appears in After Hours, Cider Press Review, Midwestern Gothic, NEAT, and RHINO, among others. In addition, she has a poem forthcoming in The Silver Birch Press The Great Gatsby Anthology.