Crimson Encounter (Gemma White)

I am seeing red. Bright red nail polish
on my toes as they stick out from your doona.
War-time red lipstick brightening my mouth,
smudged now from your urgent kisses.
There is brownish red blood all over the sheets.

I warned you about it, but you still wanted
to fuck me. I said, don’t go down there,
but you ripped my stockings off anyway.

I was only going to give you a blowjob
and then go home, but you didn’t take that for
an answer. So now I am lying here, seeing red.

My eyes are pinkish red from lack of sleep.
When I went into your bathroom, there was
a big spa bath and I imagined it full of vermilion water.

I must have been tired, seeing things that were not there,
seeing things red tinged around the edges.
As if to put to rest any misgivings I had of you,
you kept offering me water all through the night.

But it didn’t stop the blood from spreading all
down my thighs and across your pelvis.

In the dark, on your balcony that smelled of piss,
street lights were a warm orange red, red reflections
in pools of water on the road, car lights hitting their
ruby red tint across bitumen. I said I had to go.

When will I see you next?
When do you want to see me next?
Right now, and for a couple more hours at least.

I stayed, in your stained bed with the glass of red wine
on the bedside table. And in the morning, when I gathered
up my red high heels and sexy red dress to leave,
you didn’t even ask for my goddamn number.


Gemma White lives in Melbourne, Australia. She is a painter, poet, editor and founder of Only Words Apart Press. Her work has appeared in Voiceworks, page seventeen, Visible Ink and Award Winning Australian Writing 2011. She writes poems that distill everyday moments in time, infusing them with meaning, sometimes adding a touch of the surreal or imaginary.