The Hunter Isn’t Coming and Grandma Is Dead

Three Poems by Sarah Blake

Before I die I dream about turning into so many stones
that the wolf has to stay in this bed forever


The Hunter Isn’t Coming and Grandma Is Dead


Before I die I dream about turning into so many stones
that the wolf has to stay in this bed forever

Before this I was in the woods and even when
I wasn’t smelling flowers I could smell them

Before this I was on the path through the woods being
propositioned by a wolf and putting my fingers in his fur

Before this I was putting my mother at ease
waving to her in the doorway of the kitchen

Before this I was in my mother’s arms

The Hunter Did Come

The hunter’s knife cut my arm but
I was glad for it.
To have passed through all those teeth
without a scratch—
who would have believed me?

He apologized as I poured the antiseptic
down my arm
without care for my dress
and as I put the tape-like stitches and gauze
and more tape
from the well stocked medicine cabinet
like good grandmothers have.

Then I realized I hadn’t showered yet.
The wound, urgent.
And I’d have to tend to it all over again.
I’d have to keep tending to my body.

He apologized so much I wanted him dead.
I think because I wanted the knife,
and it was so near
to us both, and still wet. And there was
his rifle in the corner of the room
behind him, where he was still holding
my grandmother, cradling her,
such that I loved him too,
this nameless man, such that later
I married him.

Thus I married the knife
and the rifle and
the kills he bled behind the house.

Little Red Riding Hood’s Dreaming

When I learned it takes three knives
To best break apart the fish, I knew
I would learn and respect every knife
It takes to dismember you and remove
Flesh from bone—one cleaver-like,
scythe, scalpel, ones I can’t name. But,
I’m saying, I will learn. I’m saying,
I will remember this dream—

Next I’m out at sea, dragging
Up nets and letting fish rush the deck
Between my rubber boots and those
Of a dozen men. Our feet look the same
In boots among the thrashing bodies,
But my face is so womanly still—even
Without make up, even wet, winded—
That I catch the eyes of one man
And he blushes like a fool, thinking of
what he could do with me below deck.


Sarah Blake is the author of two poetry collections, Let’s Not Live on Earth and Mr. West, both from Wesleyan University Press. An illustrated workbook accompanies her chapbook, Named After Death (Banango Editions). In 2013, she was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Her debut novel, Naamah, is forthcoming from Riverhead Books. She lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband and son.