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Red Paint

nick soluri / poem


There were few birds where we had landed on the shore, a glass

bottle stuck somewhere down the beach had been found, yes,

and it made our supposed reaching hands twice as large as

they came closer, as though it planetary perhaps, or humanly,

but had not been opened. We were out of questions, consumed

with definitions. The kitchen knife goes here. The candle wax 

makes this shape. Take the apron from the hook. The blueish one.

I am tired of looking there and finding myself, the empty bottle.

Wind picked up like music, the bad kind. Bitten fingers pointed

toward a band many summers ago and it was like we didn’t care

because we didn’t. I could walk among you and feel both audience

and mirror. On this beach those are not the same thing, trust me

I would know. The sand is a drag. There are no good parties anymore, 

only poor politics. We had forgotten that good parties are the best 

politics, the right drinks and the right moves. In the dune there’s more 

of life than where we could go. Butternut squash soup would be divine 

right now, I thought, and what seemed like real body heat had returned 

to you. I saw you orange. I saw you soup. One day I will never have 

to miss you. I won’t take chances unless you take chances, you said.

I could squeeze vegetables between my palms and paint the room. 

If I opened the bottle would you turn on the TV? Would you say, 

yes, that’s perfect just like that, or maybe that sounds like waves

in Atlantic City, where we promised to never return? We could eat

the entire day whole. I saw, many summers ago, your hand on the park 

bench and thought, how wonderful, this is not like any music I know.


Nick Soluri is a poet and playwright from North Carolina. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Sho Poetry Journal, Pidgeonholes, Albany Poets, Poetry South, Ghost City Review, and others. He's the author of the chapbook Cartilage (Bottlecap Press, 2022) and holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. He tweets @nerkcelery.


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