Today's poem is by Lana Hechtman Ayers

Baba Yaga Advises Red Riding Hood
        I was tired of being a woman,
        tired of the spoons and the pots,
        tired of my mouth and my breasts ...

        (Anne Sexton)

I've pulled the plow
by my teeth, fed souls
of unborn babes on the marrow
of my own bones.

I've called clouds down
from heaven, swallowed the stars
while in my raven guise.
I've charmed snakes,

sung to wolves,
hummed thunder and
spit rain. No one can claim
I've had a dull life.

I'm nobody's wife
and no one's Grandma.
Don't come by my roost
looking for fresh-baked pies

or gooey oat cookies.
I'll give you fire if you bargain
fair and even a lock
of my steely hair,

but you won't get a hug
from me. Don't come whining,
looking for someone to wipe
your snotty nose.

I'd sooner make soup
of your toes. I don't have time
to waste on complainers.
And men, I loved one once.

He was a woodcutting dunce
like yours, looking to marry
his mother in a younger body.
I told him to take a hike.

And when that didn't work,
I cut out his eyes and sent him
toward the pike. That Oedipus has not
been seen or heard from since.

Don't wince, hood girl.
Take my advice,
command mice,
enchant spindles,

put foxes in a trance.
Teach your chicken-legged
house to dance.
A man will just keep you down.

How are you going to patrol
the gateway of the dead
wearing glass slippers
and a ball gown?

Trade in that red cape for
an even redder dress.
Live your story, missy,
your own—not mine.

Never say yes
when you mean no,
and mean no
all of the time.

Copyright © 2017 Lana Hechtman Ayers All rights reserved
from Red Riding Hood's Real Life
Night Rain Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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