Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2011 v10n1
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Purged History of
     after Janice R. Harrington

and hookers wore their hair red army red
a decalogue of reddened fingernails

red-hot brassieres red nipples underneath
red welts where customers had stroked too hard

and later they sweated in the afterglow
of red smoked cigarettes whose embers sparked

the dark a cherry red their pillows propped
red dreams and workers stood in line to buy

red books and read red pages on the tram
to work each creed a monolith of red

each stop another passage through the red
that dyed December       on May Day they sang red

their children marched in red parades behind
a convoy of red tanks the wind blew red

because the leaves could only leave the branch
as different shades of mandatory red

and all the maps were demarcated red
the red of flags of blood on cinderblocks

and wire shelves gaped empty in the stores
except for red in three varieties

and 1 + 1 would always equal red
and red the baby’s name first word first step

the scarlet fever when the pills ran out
the mouth that swallowed every cure for red  end

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