the red light of the falling sun
slides into the river
straddles its back, quivers with current,
quickening toward sea.
Red carries you
into the panelled library where your mother
and your father sip their drink
as the sun sinks into the bottles
on glass shelves over your mother’s desk.
Old bottles, antiques collected for years,
crimson and ruby
their lips and bellies float fire
shoot slabs of red over the rug.
Across the room Vibert’s portrait—The Naturalist—
a stout cardinal robed in scarlet
a misfit in that green meadow
where he inspects a dragonfly under glass.
He dominates the mantle—this displaced cleric—
a red life out of place.
The room ignites with sunset
red boils your blood
red stains the sofa
and the footprints where you walk—
but you don’t see this until years have passed.