by Nicholas Johnson

The red of repeated questions
and their red answers.
The stacked red of chips on green cloth.
Fat chance.
The red shift of stars, love retreating,
color of debt,
red-eye express.
The sick red of light through closed lids,
the red sweep of the second-hand
blurred lines of where you have been
marked on the eyes’ maps.

Opiates, capsules. What you are
asking: one life, the future,

what you can hold in your hand.
The first cry of the child,
footprints in clay,

Originally published in The Same, Volume 7, Nos. 1-2, Edited by Philip Miller, Summer / Fall 2008, p. 78