Alwahs Messing with them Boys
Jessica Helen Lopez          

Red Is the Color of Regret

In the absolute silence
of a midnight house
I paint my toenails red
the color of matador
fanning outward and bleeding
seeping its way across the ridged nail
the askew pinky toe
the soft pulp of cuticle

the red of it frightens me
cocking my head I turn
a constant ear to stairwell
upstairs my infant sleeps

comfort found in still
air and quiet child,
my eyes snap back
hawk like precise
I peck again at my feathers
fawning, preening
for no one

like the quiet flush of red paint
slashed across the Braille of my feet
you flash bright, a sudden
anguish of the arteries
the vacant halls inside my chest
thud suddenly with your clumsy footsteps

you kick over a lamp
with heavy boot
stumble your way into the inside
of the inside of me
nudge the gap between my sternum

you crack open my breastplate
poke around with a capricious thumb
the astuteness of a poet
the sterility of a surgeon
the unwavering ferocity of a star-like lover
fucking our way across the murky linen
of my sleigh-shaped bed

my toes are painted spectacular,
lacquered red and pristine
I hang them out to dry
fan them

admire their ambulance-wail hue
a song you will never hear

for you have zippered your suitcase
buttoned your trousers
spent all the time allowable
a hitchhiker can spare
writing your poem

I am your dusty rumination
a Mona Lisa muse forgotten
accents of red begonia
cupping my ear
scenting my hair

I live here
a sleeping baby breathes
upstairs in our midnight house
colored quiet

an antiquity of still life
sepia misplaced postcard
aged and water-damaged
trapped in the back pocket of
your vagabond blue jeans


red snapdragons
dot our windowsill
wave in the breeze