Riding Red

by Anne Carly Abad

Trigger cocktail—

glass of colorless bribes

stick of olive green lies

salt on the rim of old wounds

A drunk crowd trails after

the howls of a blind wolf

who demands they all

wear red

announce their presence

to a blur of black

circling above—an enemy

because what else can it be

to make the great

big wolf huff and puff

into his scarlet legion

hoods ripping like blood splatter

shoot arrows of terror

into an enemy

otherwise too high up.

But the howl of victory

sighs into a whimper.

What fell with wings intact

flies right back

while the hooded crowd

clambers up the ledge

to hunt down what

nearly killed them.


Anne Carly Abad received the Poet of the Year Award in the 2017 Nick Joaquin Literary Awards. She has also received nominations for the Pushcart Prize and the Rhysling Award. Her work has appeared in Apex, Mithila Review, and Strange Horizons, to name a few. Her first poetry collection, We’ve Been Here Before, is forthcoming this February 2022 with Aqueduct Press.