If I Were

If I were a book,

my pages would be written

in red ink.


If I were a tree,

I’d stand tall and bear the sweetest fruit

but my sap would run red.


If I were precious stones,

I’d be a bag of rubies

catching light and sparkling.


If I were to make you pretty,

not that you could look any better,

I’d be rouge or blush.


If I were a house

on some street corner,

I’d be made of fresh brick.


If I were in the night sky

I’d be the blood moon

and I’d be bright and full.


If I were liquid,

I would flow hot and heavy

and I would be molten lava.


It’s all that I am, it seems:

crimson, burgundy,

maroon, rose, vermillion,

ruce, Terra Cotta, russet,

rust, scarlet —

stained, corrupted, broken.


What runs through my bloodstream

has defined me and it is indelible.

And if I were not what was inside me,

what courses through my veins,

would I be any different?

Would I be more palatable

and would I make it to your canvass

and into your portrait?

Or will I always be

what my past has made me?

If I were anything but red

would I still be who I am now

and love you the way I do?


The only answer I can think of

is in the absence of colour

or the combination of all of them:

it’s either black or white.


But that’s not an answer

that gives me any release.

And so I am red

and I will always bleed.


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