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Red Song (For Judith)

Red of our birth and desiring,
red of lip and nipple,
red of the tongue, throat and tonsils,
red of the blood of the placenta,
red of the monthly flow,
of vagina and cervix.

Red of the sun and its setting,
red of dayrise,
red of our rage and our blindness,
red of the matador's cape,
red so thick we see nothing through it.

Red of the lobes of pomegranate,
dividing seasons, red of the heart's oxygen,
pumping, red of our lungs and breath,
red of the first cry.

Red in the base of our bellies,
red in the vessels of the eye.
Red at the heart of the fire,
red of the embers glowing,
red at the center of the cut,
red of the wound, the bleeding finger.

Red of the storm moving in,
red of our manufacturing,
of forge and furnace and iron oxides,
red of the wine drunk as blood,
red of stop signs, warning labels,
fire trucks.

Red of kidney beans and juicy cherries
red of short-bloomed azalea, poppy and carnation.
Red of blood oranges, cranberries, bloody pads,
red of sumac and swamp maples in fall,
all other pigment stripped away,
red that runs out, pools and drains.

Red of transition,
of opening and closing,
that which through a woman's hips
drives our very grief.

{"Red Song" originally appeared in Eclipse, Vol. 16, Fall 2005, and is included in the chapbook Falling Dreams, Finishing Line Press, 2006}