Fly for me again. Fill my eyes with a breast
so scarlet robins sob. Only you are photo luscious,
Richmondena Cardinalis, crowned with a crest,
body the color of mythical vampire tears,
poppies, dying stars, things kissed away.

At first, I believed you a Hibiscus blossom,
a stigmata shining in snow, the white
intensifying red, held to the branch with the
petite claw of my thoughts. But no flower
ever fell, then flew, blurring its own shape.

How can I call you back? If I paint my nails,
lips, cheeks red, will you come to me the way
you fly to a faithful mate, love her for her red
parts: beak, crest, tail tips, feathered wings?
And if there’s a difference in the scents of

redheads, brunettes, and blondes, and if
I dye my hair red, will you seek me like
ripened fruit, or offer me the faith of
mustard seeds? Surely something mystical
propels your heart, flies your wings.

Red isn’t granted without merit. If God lives in
the color red, as Rumi said, let me hold you
in my hand. Be my pope’s holy slipper,
the fluttering hem of a cardinal’s caudatorio.
You, my high priest of direction, my red prayer.

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Carolyn Dahl

Carolyn Dahl was the Grand Prize winner in the national Public Poetry competition ARTlines2 and a finalist in the Work-Themed poetry contest, the 2018 Malovhr-Fenlon contest, and PEN Texas in non-fiction. Her chapbook Art Preserves What Can't Be Saved was published in 2019 by The Orchard Street Press and she is co-author of the art and poetry book, The Painted Door Opened, as well as three art books. You can find her website link below.

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