The Wolf slipped into the woods
moving like an eastward trade wind.
Swift, invisible, predatory,
these were the traits he and his ancestors relied on
for time immemorial,
until shotguns and knives undercut their majesty.
The Wolf lived in a time of drought and fire
when lumberjacks and hunters
deemed themselves kings of the land,
and shared cabins built from the once-magic trees
and sat around fires
that burned pungent and painful all night.
So the Wolf remained hidden
whenever he heard that human cadence
of paper mills
and cattle farms.
But today there was no fear in this enchanted forest.
The Wolf spotted Little Red,
who chased butterflies in a rare patch of meadow.
He could breathe in deeply for the first time,
because she was the only one in sight.
And she had no pistol,
nothing to prepare a pelt with.
Butterflies fluttered about in circles,
in straight lines,
in zig zags.
Little Red laughed and followed them,
tripping over her cloak,
When she grew tired from chasing them,
she rested on a stump of a cut-down tree.
Nothing seemed amiss to her innocent eyes.
the enchanted tree no longer camouflaged the Wolf.
The dried leaves of autumn crunched under his paws
and his shadow
covered the forest floor.
Little Red peered from below her hood
as the Wolf offered his paw.