The Color of Magic
Red of the raspberry, its drupelets
a nest of sexual seeds,
and the music, pepper hot and red,
foot-tapping, foot-stomping music,
wail of the sax,
red satin dress sparking flames,
and the red-bellied snake
on your shoulders,
our hands clapping belief
in some unholy act, some magic trick—
rabbit out of the hat,
coin behind the ear,
scarf from the sleeve,
your red-headed lady disassembled, reassembled.
Give us illusion, optical and otherwise,
the miracle of belief, tiny O of surprise.
We want everything red—
maraschino cherry, that jewel in a jar,
and red velvet cake,
poison spot on the belly,
taste of the music,
your cape’s silk lining
flashing in waves of light.
We want the pigeon-blood ruby, fire on the finger,
and the ruby-throated hummingbird
that flies upside down,
the cardinal always in contention
with his own reflection,
but when he commits,
and the tree frog,
his red eyes lit up
like lightbulbs and bulging
as if perpetually amazed.
Transform our tomatoes into the liquid velvet
of the Bloody Mary.
Let it slide down our throats,
scarlet red and slippery
as any snake, hot as jazz.
Diane Lockward is the author of three poetry books, most recently Temptation by Water, and a craft book, The Crafty Poet (Wind Publications, 2013). Her poems have been published in Harvard Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner, and have been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and The Writer’s Almanac.
Barbara Carter is a visual artist living in Nova Scotia Canada. You can visit her website at: barbaracarterartist.com