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              “I wanted to create red in a world that is too often black and white.”
                                                    -Terry Tempest Williams

Create a world containing neither
black nor white, in which pepper’s 
acknowledged as gray and dried
pink crumbs fall from a snowy sky;

learn yellow, there – an ash-yellow road
whose pores have inherited her stripes.
Learn blue, that same road hours later,
cradled by ash-gray spires

naked against the night. Skin is pale blue
at the delicate inside of your lover’s wrist,
rose where her breast flushes as you kiss
that same wrist, the woman

you first loved is amber,
the one you denied you wanted,
burnt umber, the exact shade of the tree
your new lover bends over now, 

drawing the shape of a woman’s hips
from maple burl. Turned wood, she calls it, 
lifts it toward the light where the swirls
settle into its grain like dust –

Can you remember learning to color
in wax, cover pages in aqua, 
yellow, orange, green and gray, scratch
your message with the sharp

point of a pin? What message
could you have sent then
that would still resonate now
that your world has gone from

the black and white sureness of childhood
into the knowledge of red?

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