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Red Paint

alyssa froehling / poem


Tell me what I want. I can’t answer anyone.

My mouth is a door battered shut by the tide. I want

every grain of sand boring into me like the jeweled eyes

of God. My mouth is still, a boarded-up window

filled with mold. God is always watching me. While I change

into my bikini, while I lose rows and rows of my teeth.

They drop onto the shore, blending in with bits

of shell. At dawn they turn into tiger’s eye, a cantrip

I hide in my palm. A secret place where I can stand

in a whale’s line of sight and remain unseen.

I stand in a whale’s eye. I am there when the sky turns

red. The sun drops into my palm, then I remember

the summer I drove from the Midwest to the Atlantic

Ocean to be stared at by eyes red and angry with salt.

If I wasn’t trying to be seen, then why else would I be here?


Alyssa Froehling's poems appear in Nashville Review, Puerto Del Sol, The Pinch, and elsewhere. Find her at


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