In Red
         – Harmony in Red, 1908 Henri Matisse

Enough red to end
all desire for sex—reflected

in her stern countenance.
Her stance mocks

any sense of calm.
Neck, collar-entrapped,

right hand gripping
an epergne as though

it needed protection
from restraining vines,

frenzied bouquets.
Hair crouched on her bent head

like a heavy squirrel.
Two chairs, incompatible in scale,

failing to suggest depth.
Nothing as it should be,

but that tumultuous red.
Blue vines mounting redness,

crawling up red walls, grasping
relentlessly, red.

The paler red, vinegar,
in the cruet, must be sunlit

but such an obvious lie:
there is no source of light.

No outside, no
actual world. Only the faux

window out, no
escape.

 

Afraid to Enflame
                  –Everywhere is terrible and wonder-filled and overwhelming if you open                   your senses to the actual pulsating heat, Salman Rushdie

 

In August heat, hungry

         swallows

         lingered

                  above a mud wasp nest.

On TV,
         polar bears feasted

         gutting large whales

                           claw by claw

                                    burning white fur
                           red.

From slammed doors and wrath

         hiding

         lambent embers.

                  Had to be smart,

                  mind, an agile teenager

                  reading each word’s blaze

                            spoken or not.

 

Rebecca Kaiser Gibson

REBECCA KAISER GIBSON is the author of OPINEL (Bauhan Publishing, 2015), and two chapbooks, Admit the Peacock and Inside the Exhibition. She is the recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Colony,The Heinrich Böll Cottage in Ireland, and the 2008 Fellowship in Poetry from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. She was selected as a Fulbright Scholar to teach poetry in Hyderabad, India, 2011. She is founder and director of The Loom, Poetry in Harrisville, a poetry reading series. Her poems have appeared in Agni, The Adroit Journal, Field, The Greensboro Review, The Harvard Review, Ocean State Review, Salamander, Slate, The Taos Journal of International Poetry and Art, The Tupelo Quarterly, and featured in VerseDaily, among others, and included in two anthologies, Cadence of Hooves and Thirty Days, The Best of the Tupelo Press 30/30 Project's First Year. Rebecca lives in Marlborough, NH and taught poetry at Tufts University for 23 years.

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