How you tremble at the Red Woman!
You fear the guest at the door who breaks
the arbitrary rules that bind you
the technicalities that keep you safe.
You never know how she will appear:
eel, gray wolf, red-eared cow, crow, the wind,
your fresh-faced daughter holding a blade
under her smile, your mother, the lady
at the deli counter with her knives —
You never know what she’ll do, that one,
even if you pretend. She is not yours
in any shape, and oh how you fear!