Response to ‘Little Red Cap’ by Carol Ann Duffy

The day you left, you went out to the woods,
past the white picket fence, and over the dormant tracks in a trance.
I cried that day,
‘cause I missed my little girl –
was afraid you’d become dead meat; prey
to a Romeo, proclaiming his verse to seemingly you
only you, and yet
he goes howling up at a different moon
every Thursday night.

On this particular Thursday he’d spot you,
newly flown from the nest,
wearing your heart out on your chest – he’s looking
for a little fox;
all too willing to say she’s done this before.
But I know you;
I bade you never touch a drop of that demon drink
because it’s more trouble than you’ll ever begin to think.

Look at you, infatuated by poetry,
it’s a perilous path, a slippery slope,
that will lead to blood red weals on your chest.
He’ll say he’s teaching you an art, a skill at best,
but he’s wrong.
I say he’ll eat you up, breakfast in bed,
like a fledgeling pup –
you’re a bite to him –
your tight-fitting red blazer a mere side dish,
concealing the main course within.

My dear, you must fight back –
ransack his shack, hack at his hair;
learn what needs to be learnt.
Darling, pray you only see white.
Because then you’ll know why this happens,
when girls like you go out in the night.


~ Wren James




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