Dyeing the Scarlet Letter

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic
A verse on love lost and regret in the color red

Submitted: December 24, 2013

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Submitted: December 24, 2013



Last night, while the baby slept, I dyed my hair

In the color of a scarlet letter, bright and bold.

Standing in front of the dirty mirror, I stared and listened

To John Cale croon about hallelujahs and

How love is no victory march and there are those

Who have never seen the light…

The stink of dye and the taste of my guilt make my eyes tear

As I color out the day that had played out hours before.

It burned my scalp as I soaked in fire, I welcomed it.

The things I had just done warranted the branding I was secretly laying,

Here in the sweltering privacy this little room offered.

My hands, now stained the color of blood, heart ink,

Oh how they tremble at the memories of how I fell from so high.

I hate myself as I look in the mirror, belly not quite normal yet from our son,

Makeup smeared around from the tears I had shed, with another’s taste in my mouth.

Sleep next to you seems impossible but perhaps with this quiet confession,

Created in liquid ruby upon my skull, I can make it through the next day.

Outside these walls lay baby toys, bills and echoes of a dying romance,

Things I cannot bear to look at some days, for they sound of you.

Those horrible minutes I spent in shaking disbelief and desire with a stranger

Had been born of this day-to-day death between us, this flickering flame in wind.

With hot, scalding water, the dye ran free from me and I stood anew.

The guilt was scarred on and a colder, embittered me shivered in the tub,

Head now the color of my soul, raw and the shade of rage and shame.

Words had come and now sat poised upon my lips, words that would hurt

And leave burns upon the two of us, a reminder of what was lost in red.

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