“Red Cloth”

A weekly poem, read by the author.
Dec. 4 2012 8:15 AM

“Red Cloth”

Beach at night.

Photograph by Stephanie Gimlette.

Click the arrow on the audio player to hear Sara Peters read this poem. You can also download the recording or subscribe to Slate's Poetry Podcast on iTunes.

I went to this party, I stared at a man in orange glasses,
And then there was nothing to do
Except follow his red cloth shoes to the beach.

I buried the base of my glass and watched
As (naked) he staggered too close to the waves—

I sat in the sand and counted my bracelets.
The man in orange glasses said
Cape Breton’s so green—like living inside a salad!

Then he fell backward
Trying to trace a castle in the stars.

I am not sure why I’m convinced
That expressing contempt is my life’s work—
And I should’ve been back at that party

Building my own complex salad
Using unimpeachably local mushrooms (grown

On my body), not here, watching these waves
Throw the same length of chain at the shore.
And why do I crave not the shaved

And lotioned surface of his or any
Body, but only the tangy,

Throbbing interior? Wet wheels spinning, wet looms weaving,
One red tissue after another
Torn by my reach?

For Slate's poetry submission guidelines, click here. Click here to visit Robert Pinsky's Favorite Poem Project site.

Sara Peters was born in Nova Scotia and was a 2010-12 Stegner Fellow at Stanford. Her first book, 1996, will be published in April 2013 by House of Anansi.

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