Gradients of Red – Poem

After Snodgrass’ “After Experience Taught Me”

Women are known to spend as much time

prepping for the activity as participating in it

Loping into the room thick liquor in his ether

the smile clenches quickly at his sight of her little hands.

thus there is no surprise that the stats of university

sports teams outrank the stats of violence against

His girl, six years old, fingernails painted

red.  And red is the color his face

women.  Girls gotta get good and

lovely, and these same girls get good looks

turns against the age.  He growls

at her, knocking over the tin pail of colored pencils

from the boys who can’t control it.

And beauty is something women are born knowing

How dare she let you do this? He screams

at his ex-wife (absent), his daughter (present),

takes time and effort.  And that same beauty

they praise, and pray for is its own danger.

his own knowledge of boys infinite desire

everywhere.  To quell this, he picks her up, now

This is no reason to cut it out, to cover

the light of existence.  But girls must know

crying, bringing her to the bathroom

slamming open doors to cabinets for the liquid

that the short skirt, red lips, night vision

they portray is enough

polish remover: These nails will not be painted!

He shouts, and she cries, and his shouts turn to cries.

for some men to forget that what they see

is a person, not a picture.

And she is not beautiful, not a magnet

for eyes of other men (yet), nothing besides

a sexless little girl, with fingers pale as pearl.


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