I'll Give You Red

Source: Neweurasia
I’ll give you red,
the color the Russians loved
so much they used it to make
their word for beautiful:
I’ll give you scarlet
from the epaulets of blackbirds.
Or cardinal
from the spirits threading
through a steamy green
Midwestern afternoon.
I’ll give you crimson
from the feathers the parrot
hides in his tail
and only lets us see
when he is furious.
Here is your cerise
the sad, shameful stain of cherries.
And vermilion
the bright sash of yesterday
that lingers on the horizon.
I’ll give you ruby
the color of lies
that lovers tell themselves,
the flame at the prism’s
deepest heart.
But I will keep this red
the drunken sweet damp scent
of the breeze that sweeps
over strawberry fields
in June.

~ Tamara Madison

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