That ridiculous hood
Premonitions About the Forest – A Father’s Advice to a Girl Off To College
Forget everything you know about the golden rule,
good karma, the kindness of strangers.
Our world is one giant forest,
trees, wolves, mud underfoot, men around
every towering pine, shotguns quivering in their hands.
When you get set to go
off into the trees, Red Riding Hood,
take care. Take more than a basket
and that ridiculous hood.
There’s the usual precautions,
the smart girl’s staples:
an extra key
a full tank of gas
that hundred I gave you,
tucked not in your bra,
but in your secret compartment.
Don’t give too much away.
When you go off into the forest, Red, beware.
The trees have teeth.
There is fire.
There is blood.
There are winds that blow
hotter, deeper, stronger
than your typical tornado.
I mentioned this to Dorothy.
See what became of her.
Mind the purple trees.
They’re bad shit.
When the sky turns orange and green, run.
Glass may fly out at any given moment.
Catch a shard to light your way.
In the clearing you will see a band of gnarly trees
dancing like old ladies, bending, bowing, scraping.
Whatever your premonitions about the forest, dear girl,
know you are always, always alone.
Plan for the future. Check your gauges.
If you ever need help, try standing
at the edge of the forest,
show a little leg.