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Red Paint

rachel marie patterson / 3rd place editors' choice prize in poetry

Honeymoon With Global Warming

We turned up late to the Anchor Motel

with no reservation. Back then, we believed 

our bodies would never grow tired, 

that we could float on love alone. 

The next day, we trekked across a bay 

in flip-flops and jeans. We chose to see

the rising tide as adventure, not proof 

of a doomed planet. Before we had children 

to think of instead, we hiked too far, 

too close to dusk, the iron rungs 

on the cliff face slick and cold. 

At the summit, purple asters rose 

into ether. We talked about all the time

there’d be – the red house, the swinging 

gate, the dog. We imagined a home that might

withstand disaster, then descended 

through vanishing flowers, the twilight 

hours falling faster than we knew.


Rachel Marie Patterson is the co-founder and editor of Radar Poetry. She holds an M.F.A. in Poetry from UNC Greensboro. Her poems have appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Harpur Palate, Smartish Pace, The National Poetry Review, Cumberland River Review, Thrush, and many other journals. Rachel's work has been nominated for Best of the Net, Best New Poets, and the Pushcart Prize. She is the author of the poetry collection Tall Grass With Violence (FutureCycle Press, 2022). Learn more at


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