“Red” (2014)

This is a shitty poem that I was once proud of (circa junior year of high school). Enjoy!red

It’s the color of the shirt you slip into, silky,

almost slimy, against your skin.

Your eyes scroll up,

meeting the eyes that gaze out of the frosty silver of the mirror.

These eyes don’t trust you; they seem almost to convey

some accusatory message that you can’t read.

“Don’t worry;

                          you’ll do great,”

you say.  It sounds plastic, even as it rings through your own ears.

The eyes still don’t trust you.


It lingers within the molecules of the lipstick

you smear quickly on your lips.

Your hands are quaking,

creating shivering sine waves over your mouth.

You lean your elbow against the coolness of the steady bathroom counter.

Most importantly:

you ignore those baleful eyes.


As you shimmy your way into your pea coat,

the knock at the door

chases the blush to the apples of your cheeks.

You shove that color of



back using the folds of your smile.

You answer the door.


a pair of incandescent teeth say.

Their owner thrusts cellophane-wrapped stems

topped with velvety blooms into your chest.

Your arms spring up to cradle them, dragging your hands along.

The cellophane clings to your hands. You keep moving them.

“Let me

                get a vase,” you say. “Won’t you

                                                                                come in?”

The teeth duck under the frame of the door,

floating into your sanctuary. You’re,

what? Afraid?  Is that what you are?

Just to look at the face the teeth are entombed in?

Your throat swallows dryly.  What’s the matter?

Your smile is emaciated now,

receding as though it was a Monday night.

It’s a Friday, you remind yourself, but the smile doesn’t revive.


             I’ll be

                         right back,” you mumble.

You stalk off, head tucked against your chest.

What’s wrong with you?


The vase is under the sink;

you have to crouch to get it.

But it doesn’t seem to like those

trite flowers. No amount of bargaining can budge it.

The footsteps behind you are nearly silent,

just dying whispers, skimming the carpet.

“Need any


You bang your head against

the top lip of the cabinet.  “Oh!”

you gasp, turning.  He

smiles, but it’s almost guilty.

“Did I

scare you?”

You begin to answer, but

there’s something in his eyes.


You jolt up, gasping,

floundering like a drowning person.

Your hand punches out,

reaching, but

it doesn’t get that far.

You don’t understand.

There’s a low chuckle from the edge of the room.

Your eyes shoot over to it, but

there’s nothing to see.


but those teeth.

“What’s wrong,


His voice is silky, slippery, slimy.

“Where am I?” a voice whimpers.

Is that my voice?

“Don’t worry,


I’ve got you.”

But where?

He approaches and

runs something casually over your bare thigh.

Something that throws the dim light back at a fast-pitch speed.

You feel its potency,

its danger.

And you scream.


It was the knife that he used to caress your body.

When he kissed your forehead,

eyes dancing as you moaned,

hopped jauntily off the bed,

redannounced, “I’ll be back,

my dear;”

that was when you dared to look

in that mirror,

the one hovering above the bed,

(straight from this psychopath’s top-shelf fantasies).

The blood.

That’s what oozed from those wounds,

running down your cheeks in molten rivets

like alien tears.

“Happy Valentine’s Day,” you choke.

There are actual tears,

salt water and all,

streaming into your wounds now.


When he mounts the creaking stairs

to this deathly room,

your throat turns to wheezing screams

that your brain knows will never help anyone.


It’s over.

He gazes down at your body,

tilting his head this way and that,

an artist critiquing his own work.

He is happy.

He knew what he wanted from you

the moment you answered the door,

wearing his favorite color.

But that shirt made him want more.  It




So he fixed it.

Although his eyes scrutinize your face as much as

the rest of you,

he, too, avoids your eyes,

loathing the accusation that they still scream.

Fearing it.

It’s in the rest of you

—the subtle gap between your beautiful lips;

the glorious blood, stark against the pale bloom of your skin;

the graceful, careless sprawl of your limbs—

and the blood he rechristened you in

that he finds his vindication.


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