First Place Poetry, The 2014 Barbara Dunn Hartin Poetry Prize

The Tracking

Her cloak hung red and close
Dyed madder rose, alum sealed fiber
Of root and blood, a resinous soak
Before the drape and fold
Before the dread and dawn

Before the wolf came loping
Through shadow and stem, fern
And mold, drawn to the thread
Of scent, scarlet woven girl

With her basket of bread
Her glorious hem and hood
Snarled in thorn, which clung
At her nape, at the warp and weft
Of her bent and perilous path

Unraveled by curious nose
The better to name you with
My dear, my love, my maddening
Rose who weeps in the cold

In the forest reeking of youth
Fresh from rent seams, from dreams
Of wicked tooth seeking what weaves
Through flesh and leaves, the wry and gnarl
Of age that steals, quick quick at her heels

(First publication: vox poetica, May 12, 2015)