Song for a red nightgown…

No. Not really red,
but the color of a rose when it bleeds.
It’s a lost flamingo,
called somewhere Schiaparelli Pink
but not meaning pink, but blood and
those candy store cinnamon hearts.
It moves like capes in the unflawed
villages of Spain. Meaning a fire
layer and underneath, like a petal,
a sheath of pink, clean as a stone.

So I mean a nightgown of two colors
and of two layers that float from
the shoulders across every zone.
For years the moth has longed for them
but these colors are bound by silence
and animals, half hidden but browsing.
One could think of feathers and
not know it at all. One could
think of whores and not imagine
the way of a swan. One could
imagine the cloth of a bee and
touch it’s hair and come close.

The bed is ravaged by such
sweet sights. The girl is.
The girl drifts up out of
her nightgown and its color.
Her wings are fastened onto
her shoulders like bandages.
The butterfly owns her now.
It covers her and her wounds.
She is not terrified of
begonias or telegrams but
surely this nightgown girl,
this awesome flyer, has not seen
how the moon floats through her
and in between.

~Ann Sexton

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