How to perceive red

How to perceive red

Consider the persistence of memory,
how once seen, a red moon lingers
with a cinnamon-like tingle.
Remember the black widow’s
crimson hourglass in the garage
behind your cherry-bright bicycle.
Conjure the blood-lost wrench
of miscarriage: how the rose-
leather sofa, too soft for sorrow,
held the cast of a ruddy sunset.

Then there’s the leaden weight of rust,
how the muffler lost its battle with snow
and salt and dropped unexpectedly
because the pipes were rotten.
Your scarlet gloves sponged
the road’s grime and never washed clean.
Bleach was not a good idea. Fuschia
is not your favorite color.

Recollect the paint of death
on the ocher mummy, her curled
fingers stopped over the heart
with tragic calm. You could
not bear the quiet and fled
to the paintings, found Rubens’
Samson and Delilah. Her florid gown
dabbed his slumbered skin in carmine
shadows. There is no forgetting
the abandon of reason for passion.

Witness the autumn leaves dropped
like garnets on the front stoop,
how Mars rose in the east at dusk.
See the cardinal poised on the sill,
vermilion plumage puffed thick
as your son’s maroon scarf
against your arm.
Consider the persistence of love,
how once felt, it’s coral glow lingers
in memory’s quiet room, how red
is the color of the heart.

© 2005 Christine Klocek-Lim