thinks she’s safer close to town, doesn’t know
about the crones in shawls and clogs, secrets
tucked in pinafore pockets, smug as grenades.
Eventually, these matrons will stumble on ruffs
of bloody quills, a half-hen left for later,
and men with guns and dogs will stomp through
the wood, lifting tiny kites of brown and green.
In the light-burst from my torch, her eyes
are holes in autumn leaves; I whisper my bewares
into a night that’s slick with silence now.