Six Little Red Caps: Scarlet

20 Jul

There was a time not so long ago

when Mother had strong hands and a stronger heart

and took care of her six twisted troubled children

and did all the things Good Housekeeping says

a mother should do.


Nowadays Mother lies in bed unmoving,

her body encased in sheets like a tree choked by vines,

her eyes two grubby silver dollars

tossed aside in the gutter.


And if you think that’s bad you should see Grandmother.


I think I can feel it in me already, this cancer passed

in the secret way of women, dulling what I once thought might

become concert pianist’s fingers.

The slim-legged piano

crouches unplayed and silent in the corner: a sleek black wolf

with ivory teeth.


Once I wanted my name splashed all over those

eternal lines to time.


Sometimes, on the way to Grandmother’s tiny house

buried like treasure beneath the shadows of old oaks,

I hear the rush of voices – an unseen choir of thousands,

a sonata carved in bark and stone,


a blessed counterpoint to the chaos that tilts its head back

and swallows me whole in the dark of the forest.


Written with the permission of Auriea Harvey.  Other poems in the series include:

Six Little Red Caps: Prologue

Six Little Red Caps: Carmen

Six Little Red Caps: Ruby

Six Little Red Caps: Ginger

Six Little Red Caps: Rose

Six Little Red Caps: Robin

‘The Path’ is an incredibly complex game with a lot of different interpretations.  If you have views regarding the meaning of any of these characters, especially Scarlet, I’d love to hear your comments!


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