Running from the Red

Peggy Rew

Fear rushes through crimson
veins pumping a sad, carmine
heart into my throat as a rag-top cherry
T-Bird races through stop
signs of a contradictive
Catholic childhood.

Scraped elbows on redwood
divided lives caused skinned knees, bloody
as wild minds wander back, sweet maraschinos
submerged in Shirley Temples, sunburn 
made cheeks of rose
in our backyard full of thorns.

Whispering, garnet
oak leaves shadowed jealousy and scarlet
anger of divorce, but daydreams of ruby
slippers pacified us, any cheap burgundy
soothed the demon
until morning sky red.

Crossing against the vermillion
hand often triggered tormented
nightmares, curdling screams
as teachers ignored obvious youthful secrets
veracity stung
as did the bruises.

Distracted, I twirl my strawberry
curls, another flashback, I sip my Coke
and stare: a black or blue
pen to wrangle this negative
balance in my checkbook.
I blush.