The scarlet cape slung over small shoulders transforms
a granddaughter to avatar, to myth. The wolf
stalked what he thought was a goddess
of the forest, a potential lover. You lure predators with blood; ask
any hunter. The color red swishing back and forth,
something alive but wounded. No predator
could resist. Did anyone expect the wolf to crave anything
other than what it loved–the color of blood driving his heart
wild? Did the wolf believe that wearing the guise of blood-
relatives would lead to anything other than the axe?
When given infinite space and room,
how easily some slip out of the banana peel of their skin
and tumble into the mush of another fruit’s flesh.
Others, however, shed layer after layer like an opalescent onion, desperate
to find someone else entirely buried beneath.
But what they are on the surface, they are
at the core–-a wolf in wolf’s clothing, a smile
made entirely of fangs.
iii. Dateline NBC
Chris Hansen saunters on screen with the confidence of a hunter
whose steel trap clamped shut on the leg of a hungry animal
now completely harmless. And the beast, naked and starving
for the actress to return to her role, has no more
layers to shed. His fangs feign ignorance. His claws retract
the statements they clicked excitedly on the keyboard the night before
as Chris Hansen calmly reads excerpts from
an x-rated chatroom transcript as if reciting a fairytale.
When we retell the story of the predator, we should view
the adolescent girl as the actress’ avatar, the star
of the worst episode in the middle-aged man’s life.
And we should direct that sad man’s story
towards the grandmother who amazed him with the exotic
appearance of star fruit– that moment he first believed
in disguises. The cops conjure
an appropriately unhappy ending while the man remembers
his father who brought him to the beach to gaze at hundreds of star-
fish choking the rocks, how one could chop them into tiny pieces
and all of them–every last speck of stardust–would simply regenerate
back into themselves.
Where Light Resolves the Shadow
The brain wrinkled as bark, every sulcus viscous with moss.
Such thickness in the senses I can barely taste or touch
this forest. There is nothing I can name here
but tree or tree, bird bird bird. O dumb sadness,
dumb, dumb sadness. It wasn’t so long ago
happiness like a little girl led me to a three-layered sky:
sparrow, cirrostratus, sun. Now I can’t imagine
the place where light resolves the shadow
as if darkness were the issue. Stars shine with the
dull throb of dim bulbs, reach out like a father’s hand
that doesn’t strike the cheek nor does it ever stop
that darker hand from striking.
-- Michael Schmeltzer is the author of Elegy/Elk River, winner of the Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award, and a forthcoming full-length from Two Sylvias Press. He has been published in various journals such as Rattle, PANK, New South Journal, and MidAmerican Review, with work forthcoming inMeridian, Los Angeles Review, and elsewhere. He tweets ridiculous things @mschmeltzer01