Mother, I have learned from the stories.
I read Little Red Riding Hood and
I read Snow White and
I know what happens when
You are too pretty for your own good.
When you try to walk alone, and
Their eyes start calling you prey.
Their hands brittle like bone.
Mother, I have heard about the Beast.
I know that isn’t its name.
I know it will not always smell of kerosene, wear a warning sign,
I know sometimes my bed will be warm with it.
Its eyes blue the colour of bruises.
I know it will look sweet.
I am not haunted yet.
Mother, I know how the stories end.
There are bite marks on my ankles.
I know how to run, Mother.
Even on the times I am not fast enough.
I know what it is to call someone a home and
To sleep with a knife under my pillow.
I know what it is to padlock windows and block fire escapes and
Burn that motherfucker down.
Mother, I am my own carnivorous creature.
I’ve learned the rules: Make bear traps out of the softness in your body.
Make love at arms’ length and wear a smile like
Second skin dripping with teeth.
I have sharpened them myself.
I’ve read the books, Mother.
I know how to make empty sound beautiful.
I know how to lick the blood back into my mouth and stand.
Mother, are you not proud?