When I grow old, grandmother,
I'll be the one to live alone in the woods
with my herbs and roots and volumes of Rilke,
baskets of yarn and gardening tools,
old love letters tied into bundles,
old red hood in a bottom drawer.
When I grow old, I'll be the one
sunning myself on the front porch step,
listening for fox and lark and owl
and the sound of my granddaughter's voice.
When the time comes, I will know the wolf
who comes to call at the garden gate,
who asks for wine and poetry
and a place in my narrow bed.
When he eyes my granddaughter, this time
I'll be the one who pounces first.
Oh grandmother, what big teeth you have!
the child will say to me.
All the better for you, my dear!
And I'll gobble that bastard up.
About the Author: Johnny Clewell is a poet, activist, and advocate for battered women and children. Born in London, she spent many years living and working in the south of France, and is currently in Toronto, Canada. Her poems have appeared in the The Writing on the Wall, Bibliotheque Bleue, The Armless Maiden, and other publications. "Femmes Sauvage" was inspired by the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood.
Copyright © 1986 by Johnny Clewell. First published in The Writing on the Wall (Ladies Night Press, UK). This poem may not be reproduced in any form without the author’s express written permission.