Dark Doorway, Red World

Richard Fein

Detoured from the most direct route,
stopped for red under the expressway
in a factory district deserted at night,
except for that lady
in red shorts, a red wig, red lips, rouged cheeks,
and breasts straining against a red halter.
She leaned next to the proverbial lamppost.
Leaned, and I waited supposedly for the light to turn green.
She waited. I waited. She waited.
In a dark doorway up ahead,
one lit cigarette etched a red pattern against the black.
She approached; the flaming ash was her prod.

I was angry that she needed a prod.
I was afraid of the cabal signaled by the fiery semaphore;
I was drawn to its red glow.
I bolted past the traffic light still frozen in red.
I bolted past her.
She eyed me as a hungry lioness eyes an escaping gazelle.
And in a dark doorway,
one spark lit the ground.
A point of light in a shadowy everywhere.
A pale red ash brighter than a dying star.

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The 2River View, 1_2 (Winter 1997)