by Kirsten Kaschock

The wolf, another understudy.

When the grandmother accidentally died by being ingested
by the wolf (nature trumping nurture) the wolf
stepped in sans make-up.

Redrid Inghood was used to her grandmother’s foreign body
—its flannel cocoon chafing all beneath
not skin so much as paper wrapping shrunken fruit.

Another rewrite (this one with fur) couldn’t
be expected to throw her off her words.

What was problematic was her grandmother’s interest.

Usually the monologues veered
skidding across three subjects, none
of these Redrid.
One—the pigs nextdoor
Two—a gout that bedrode her yet
diminished not her appetite
(the remarked-upon basket)
No biscuits?
Three—disgraces of her youth, inverted
virtues, relived promiscuities, relished

Age did not keep the bag either
from flagellating her young benefactor. Redrid (basket
or no) was out her throat a feeble-minded bastard.

This time a wolf spoke, and the girl leaned in.

Rabidity she’d met before, in slather, been cut
by sharper teeth. Many times
she’d bitten her own handback, bled it to zigzag
the woods—her trails (more savory than crumb)
inviting some future brutal stalker
not seedfed bird.

But let the surrogate feel seminal.

He should have his pleasure, swell his belly.
Another man would come to split it.
She was sick
with scavengers. Plus
Miss Inghood had been delivered thusly
once before. Another mother (less grand
but just as clearly a replacement) had
had her

each night, no stray, trace the exacting path of the scar

back, and back. There
were, the daughter-double thought, so many
many ways to be consumed.