in the sculpted mantle to his hut. Scarlet
saris on the brown-skinned women,
of course. Terracotta dust he recalls from graves
in Pere La Chaise. Roses on the Left Bank, red
grillwork at a brasserie on Montparnasse.
Copper verdigris against a menstrual sunset.
Ominous red of mythic gods, the tongues of their lust,
their potent erections — primitive red
of his bloodshot eyes. Red scabs
on his gangrened foot. Syphilis-red. Red
of rolled tobacco and eucalyptus ash. Jasmine
on the Christian hillside where he was buried
in his thin red tie, his ruddy life a story
of not knowing how to go, or when, or why...
his pagan body lies beneath a crucifix against
blue sky, both putrefied and purified at once.
Sepia red. Voodoo red. Like the foxglove petals
his lover set on the headstone
to counterpoint that remorseless cross.
Deborah DeNicola's Other Poems
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