"I Painted My Toenails Red"
I painted my toenails red.
I painted my toenails red to match the color of my fingernails.
I don't even like the color red.
But fancy ladies in those fancy magazines
On the table at the dentist's office--
And yes, Mommy, I'll stop eating sweets--
They wear the color
Like it isn't a color,
Like it means something.
There must be something to the color red.
Every time I look down at my nails,
I see the firetruck red of the crayons
I used today in class,
I see the red of the little girl's hat
On the cover of the book
The Librarian read to us,
Us huddled in a circle
In hushed voices
Like we were sharing secrets
The adults couldn't know.
I like the color blue.
Blue is the color of the sky above me,
The color of the sea below me,
Blue is the color of my eyes, of my books,
Of the light of the projector,
Of the markers for the whiteboard
That always seem to be lost.
Maybe I will paint my toenails blue tomorrow,
That is, if I can discover,
How to wash the red away.
Every morning I am faced
With the back of your head.
Your freckles and your sunburnt tans--
I saw them all.
When the little hairs at the nape of your neck grew long,
It was an average head,
As far as heads go,
And although we never once spoke,
And I never saw your face,
I knew the back of your head better than anybody,
So I'm sorry
For the intimacy behind my eyes
The day you finally turned around.
I just like to write.