There is a brook beside the path, where she lies
shoeless, feet propped against the peeling gray bark
of a tree, dandelion stem between her teeth, seeds
and burrs, tangled furrows in burnished hair.
She is the very picture of leisure, surrounded
only by moss and stone and birdsong, she lingers
while the day lengthens; there is time enough
still to waste before evening.
If there was a cape, it is now far-flung,
if there was a basket, its contents have been
a feast for ants, and she has no fear
for what is to come, if anything.
She knows her way home and that’s what’s important,
really, when you get right down to it.
In my small, gray cottage, I hunch over my looking glass,
watching, and I know that I do not know this girl;
her faded jumper and soiled stockings
so similar to my own, but I’ve never had that face.
The light in her eyes is not the glow of the moon
reflected in mine. Where I am silver
and cobwebbed she is ripened
and gold and lies only in the sunlight.
We are alike and not; both predators, her trap
more succulent. Where she has sweet skin to tempt,
ripe lips to kiss, I have only tooth and nail,
the slavering gleam of talon and fang. Her scent
is the sweet venom of the pitcher plant,
while mine is musk, more heady and dark.
She is not me. I was not her. I have always been
the quiet beneath the canopy; the darkest part
of the forest. Even in my youth, eyes flashing,
shoulders bared, I was never the maiden.
I was always the wolf.
Joie Martin is a senior at Kennesaw State University and a recipient of the university’s Undergraduate Writing Award for Poetry in 2010. Her work has previously appeared in Share art and literary magazine. She also is a writer for Accelerando Game Laboratory’s “League of Spies,” a pervasive, multimedia alternate reality game developed for the Android market. She lives in Marietta, Georgia, with her partner of several years and her two dogs.