Studies for a Drawing in Red
By A. Papatya Bucak
A six year old helps his mother hang a hummingbird feeder in the front yard. “Why is it red?” he asks. “Hummingbirds like red,” his mother says. Hours later she finds him on the front porch, sitting as still as a six year old can. He has put on an old sweatshirt—red—pulled the hood up over his head so that his face is like the dark shadow of a villain’s face. His knees are pulled up to his chest and the sweatshirt is pulled over them. He has put on sneakers—also red.
“What are you doing?” she asks.
“Helping the hummingbirds come,” he says.
The roommate of my friend’s college boyfriend shambles out of his bedroom wearing tight red corduroys, a frayed red t-shirt and a Cincinnati Reds red baseball cap.
“Dude, what’s up with that?” my friend’s college boyfriend asks.
“It’s Valentine’s Day, you ass-wipe,” the roommate replies. “I’m going to tell Andrea I love her.”
How can I convince you, that despite its everything, I love the world? Shall I paint my nails, dye my hair, rouge my cheeks, shroud myself in my living room curtains—red red red? Shall I crack my chest to offer up my bloody heart, palms out? Here it is. Shall I slit my wrists and let them run? Would that stop you testing me? I love the world, I am trying to tell you, no matter what. No matter who rises in flames; who is buried in water, in sand, in earth; who is shot down from the air; who is tumbled to the ground; who is murdered in my name; who is left hungry and angry and without recourse; who is left without anything at all; no matter who you punish; who you reward; no matter how unfair; how unfathomable; no matter how godless: here I am, dressed in red.
A. Papatya Bucak is an assistant professor for the MFA program at Florida Atlantic University. She has published poetry and prose in a variety of literary magazines including Glimmer Train, The Fairy Tale Review, and The Saint Ann's Review.
photo by Sarah Truckey