Published on Academy of American Poets (

Little Red Riding Hood/Companion

And those other females who managed to slip the collar
for a moment or two of life were branded “bad.”
            –Clarrisa Pinkola Estés, from Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

The secret nests in my marrow.

At the striptease I appear pirouette
and prey.


I might show you
what it means to be consumed.

The pashadom and papacy come
to gush and forever satellite spatter,

no matter,

in the end you will find them
covered in a fine mist,

tasting of me.

What they do not know— beyond the veil

I lay with the wolf
& the wolf
is me.

Find me in a forest of tupelo,
cypress & black gum,
at midrib,
lobe, and blade.

Even a leaf can have teeth.

Human acts can be cannibalistic.

I am here
picking all of the wildflowers.


Copyright © 2018 by MK Chavez. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 19, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“This poem is a reimagining of a fairy tale that held my imagination as a child. I was never satisfied with the end of the story. I was suspicious of trappings that painted a girl and a wolf as bad. This poem is also inspired by conversations with my best friend as we have explored what it is to be women and to be wild. I wanted to write a different type of fairytale, one that warns of the dangers of underestimating women, and where women and nature are triumphant and a celebration.”
—MK Chavez


MK Chavez

MK Chavez is the author of Dear Animal, (Nomadic Press, 2017).

Date Published: 2018-12-19

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