Ode to Red

I could liken you, of course, to blood
like on the days that we would
butcher chickens as red would fly
and feathers and sometimes the chickens themselves
or when I was little and scrapped my knee
or the time that they had to sew my finger back on.
But Red, that makes you sound so ruthless
especially when you sit peacefully
in my kitchen on a beautiful platter–little cupcakes
with white frosting
or the round little pillow with the button in the middle
that is on my bed that I too am on
or his lips when he is hungry for me.

Red, I know you to be the walls in
the room where my piano stood and the tall shelves
that held all of those books
that I grew up reading
and Red, you are my favorite coat
and my sexiest lingerie.

We are told that you are roses
but you are a million other little flowers as well.
You can be dangerous little berries
that stop the heart (also red)
but I’ve discovered you in a market in Tokyo
on a terribly rainy day in the sweetest strawberries
I’ve ever had.

Red, you can be rosy cheeks and laughter.
When I think of grizzly hugs, aside from grizzlies, I think of you.
Needless to say Red, we have given you Love.

I paint my toenails up in you
my lips too, that have so much to say
and sometimes nothing to say at all.

Red, we are told that you are passion
but they won’t come out and say that you are an animal
wild and hungry
and they won’t say how sometimes you can be soft
and sometimes even quiet,
all they can remember is your fire
like the time the neighbors house burst
into flames and the red truck came to hose it out
and all of their water-damaged, smoke-scented belonging that meant
to them was brought out into the front lawn
or they remember the fire of the red shoes which meant “come and get me!”

But I know you Red
because, don’t forget that I am an animal too
and we’ve got a bit of it all
don’t we?

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