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That Gaudy Red Hat

by Carmen Ruggero

I see you standing by the door.
The scene replays itself, mauling my mind
with permeable impressions of
no enduring value, except to me.
I hold on to the acrid bite of anger,
that pinch of rancor
that keeps me from feeling numb.
I see you parting your lips, tossing
mutant words inside your mouth,
excuses I don’t want to hear.
Feeble arguments ... she’s your soul mate,
and so you need a fresh start.
But what do I do
when my life hangs on the balance
of an unfinished story, blank pages,
and ethereal dreams.
I get angry — it feeds me.
It wakes me up, and puts me to sleep.
I see you standing by the door,
and I slam it in your face.
Words still trying to escape your mouth,
bounce and jump and seep between your teeth,
but I can’t hear them. I slam the door again,
and again, because I’m angry,
and big, and I stand six foot tall!
I head for the bath —
got to wash your scent off my skin.
Take the scissors to my hair
just cause you liked it so,
and watch it fall around my feet,
a discarded memory of your touch
I can still feel, sometimes.
I drop my towel — I’m really five-foot three,
and a hundred and ten soaking wet.
I think about black silk, and start to get gloomy,
so I lean on my anger,
and reach for my holy flannels, instead.
I look in the mirror; my hair is a bloody mess ...
I hide it under that gaudy red hat
you once gave me.
I sit on the edge of my bed, light a cigarette,
watch my thoughts meander through the smoke,
peter out, and fade into the walls.
I feel a prayer coming on ... maybe not,
I’m angry, ugly, hairy, and unwanted,
but feel a lot better about the whole damned thing.

Copyright © 2003 by Carmen Ruggero

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