“Take My Morning” by Michelle Lee
With a PhD in literature from the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Michelle S. Lee headed for the Atlantic coast where she teaches composition and creative writing courses at Daytona State College. A freelance writer for nearly twenty years, she has published across genres in a variety of literary spaces, which include the introduction to a Simon & Schuster Enriched Classic and a podcast/article for the Poetry Foundation to Text and Performance Quarterly and Northwind Magazine. She is experimenting with multi-genre texts, as well as the novella form. Contact Michelle at doctormichellelee.blogspot.com or email@example.com.
Add this poem to the myriad variants of Red Riding Hood, but don’t let that limit your reading. Certainly there’s plenty of sexual tension and gore consistent with the original tale, but Lee’s line breaks add something different. Each forms a separate unit of meaning that works against the sentences. So while the poem’s overall tone is fatalistic (“I can’t come/ to any sort of happy ending”) there are also lines that declare the speaker’s powerful sense of self (“heartedly, bones and all. I am”) and moments of quiet enjoyment (“your hunger at bay, make a fire”). The line “in the shudder of your craving” by itself suggests hunger for both food and sex but isn’t necessarily violent. And that’s the nature of intimacy: letting someone get under your skin means getting hurt for sure, but there is also that warm fire and the opportunity to be close, “for us to stay the night.”
A new version of an old story needs a new typeface that looks old. Phosphorus Selenide fits the bill perfectly while also being a little gothic – not in the typographic sense of being without serifs but in a fashion and literary sense. The lowercase t could double as a curved, silver dagger and the descender on the lower g could be used as a scythe. Wolves, beware. You may be able to scratch your name in a style like Ghastly Panic, but the lady of this poem is onto you.