Notes on Red

Landis Grenville

                                      The orchard was

and the knuckles of a man after boxing, the linen
cast off the bed, a woman holding him in the red

between her legs. Her mouth moving is the measure
of triage. And no one dies of red, though it’s messy.

A field of bandage. A field of Cardinal’s robes
hung on a line. The perennial blood in my jeans.

A nurse asks how long since your last and
you say ten years. And you say it’s been a while,

before they wheel you away. No, no one dies of red.
I another bed I lie parsed from you, dawn crossing

the window like a gash. It is the tulips on the sill
in your white room, barely opened, like a nest

of red-headed kraits tasting the air, their necks roving
over the edge of glass. Of course, they are hungry.

The smell is antiseptic. The smell is mopped green
linoleum floors where the men unseam you. Briefly

your body fills with light, that voyeur. And the uterus
slips out through six fine incisions, suddenly reducible.

And the anesthesia takes a long time to leave you.
For a long time your face stays loose, like curtains

pushed aside. Red flowers in the window. A field
of dropped apples. My hands in your hair. Then,

bracing you as you stagger up to pee. Small line
of blood on the pad in the bed, darkening

to aftermath. Red pressed to a square of sky
and asphalt. I long to lift the gown, to make

some sense of injury. Slick red in the dark.
I imagine your body, once flooded, returned

to night, its dumbprocession wandering
the echoing nave they left under the skin.

Landis Grenville received an MFA in poetry from the University of Virginia. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Michigan Quarterly Review, Hanging Loose, Gulf Stream, and elsewhere. Currently, she lives and teaches in Jacksonville, Florida.