Seeing Red

 [Image description: blurry photograph of a wooden staircase. The entire image is toned red.]  Nico Paix / Creative Commons

[Image description: blurry photograph of a wooden staircase. The entire image is toned red.]

Nico Paix / Creative Commons

Twenty years later he tells me it all felt the same. That that he had no preference
mouthing what sounded good, in other words

the push of his hips in hallways, archways, my back 
against the wall like we meant 

to reinvent architecture, the spread 
of his hand, the stiff of his 

leather in my fist, skin wet 
with perfume-sweat and every kiss

like it was criminal, my tears on his tongue, my blood 
on his sheets, my body 

legs, breasts, time, heart-bound, teeth-bruised
for him, a lie.

It was only about the connection, he says. A reflection
an echo, a mannequin

trying on attraction in a dressing room, seducing the mirror, every kiss 
like kissing my own wrist, all of it an act

of self-pleasure

even now, the copper taste of hurt in my grin, listening as a friend, trying to understand
this new anti-definition, neither this nor that but none of the above 

my pulse spiking long after any of it matters, seeing red as he tells me what it’s like 
to be color blind, that it was only about me —

it was always only ever

me.


Shannon Connor Winward is the author of the Elgin-award winning chapbook Undoing Winter and winner of a 2018 Delaware Division of the Arts Emerging Artist Fellowship in Fiction. In between writing, parenting, and other madness, Shannon is also a poetry editor for Devilfish Review and founding editor of Riddled with Arrows. Her first full-length collection, The Year of the Witch, was just released by Sycorax Press.  Visit www.shannonconnorwinward.com.