Vermillion

By L.L. Barkat

The words in my house
were flat,
one syllable,
hard beginnings
or endings,
easy to line up–
like wooden dominoes–
easy to use, remember.

I spent years

trying to replace them
with a fluency of crimson
indigo emerald lapis
vermillion (how I loved
vermilion when I found it).

And still I haunt

Neruda Akhmatova
Darwish’s girl, her spirit
transparent as apricots in March,
looking for—what?

Something rounder
than what I was given,
something beyond black and white,
something like blown red glass.

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