Arsenic Lobster poetry journal Issue Thirty-nine
Winter 2015
Sympathy for the Big Bad Wolf
Susan Slaviero

It’s not easy being a predator. It’s lonely at the top
of the food chain and girls in red coats are in short supply.
I have scraped mushrooms from fallen logs in the forest, hungry—
hungrier than you have probably ever been. There is a fetal
curl of bones in my stomach that cramps and aches, the remains
of my last victim, the ribcage scored by claws and teeth
in the shape of a love story. When I call out
for dinner it’s in the form of song rather than the expected
howl but still emanates from the diaphragm, the vibrations shaking
the blades of grass, the needles of your compass.
It’s so easy to get lost here. Each clump of blue pine points you towards
a new dead end: creeks and ravines, cul-de-sacs that double
as graveyards. I wait for you in all these places, certain
that you will love me, welcome the sight of my haunches,
my golden iris that holds your reflection for the pulse
of a few seconds on your wristwatch.
Finally we can be together, you and I.
A tumble of red, a story told in the shape of a mouth
that ends, unexpectedly, uncertain
in its denouement, in where your sympathies should lie.

About Susan Slaviero

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