Poems from

Red-Haired Girl Wants You to Know

The sycamore mark on her inner thigh is a continent
about to divide itself into the angel
that sat in the votive light

of a fourteen-year-old’s cigarette, and the angel
that was never there

but for the inked tattoo of wings under each blade
of a bartender’s shoulder. Behind her eyes

there is a jealous god—
one wild swirl in each iris, each center a mix of pitch
and Byzantium about to catch.

There is a remedy for all of this
or none of it. An old man’s advice:

don’t let a morning pass
without swallowing nine
gin-soaked golden raisins. Do this to keep

arthritis at bay.
Or for the hell of it.

While she wonders why the only man to tell her

what’s sexier than nudity
was an art critic and not a lover. She detests

the way red-haired women morph

into whores, sinners, or fox fur
shawls with the heads left on. Look, when that girl stared Zeus down
in all his glory, her hair was all flame for a moment.

And it was worth it.

Then dust. Then a poppy field with its charred seeds
between silks with a scent that could bring

the gods to their knees.

 

reprinted from 42opus

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