Red. Small as a butterfly. But fatter. Butterflies glide on silent wing strokes. Not a butterfly. Not a single flutter. I hear a buzz. Do bees grow this big? Could this be a hummingbird moth? A red flash shoots from wild iris to wild iris, does an erratic air bounce and disappears.
Red. My mother’s lipstick. She won’t leave the house without it. Hurry up, dad says, and goes to wait in the car while mom gets pretty. We wait. She emerges, a ruby red smear adorns her lips. I ask her about the strange moth in the garden. She says it was a hummingbird. My first.
Red. My favorite color. Bold. Bright. Part of a Guatemalan rainbow. Fire feathers on a Quetzal bird. Hot lava burning. Primary color. No pastel. No pale pink or baby blue like mother’s faded eyes. Red. Crimson moon rises out of the ocean, twin to the sunset, color of lipstick and the brilliant throat of the hummingbird.
BEFORE WINTER SOLSTICE
In the raven days before solstice,
I get out of bed,
gimp across the floor
as fast as frost forms on glass,
in step with this creaking old house.
I move as slowly as a draft,
ice in my hands and feet,
a dog bite of bone on bone in my knee,
and the weight of snow on my chest.
I will endure the discomforts of time
until winter claims me,
and they set my body aside
for spring planting.
Winter, when it ends,
spring, the beginning.
Four seasons, complete.
I cycle the spirals,
seeds and roots in dark earth,
push above ground to light,
time to dance and sing,
a time to begin and end.
Date published: November 11, 2016