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The Telling Rooms Movement II

Jan 10 2019

Dressed In Red




Dressed in Red 

Husna Quinn 


The tapping of her scarlet 

pin heels 

fills the family room. 

Her radiant red  

dress illuminates 

the faded gray shapes 

of objects surrounding her. 

My gaze  

from just outside the door 

follows her coal black eyes. 


Glimpsing at the art 

attached to the wall 

she halts her steps, 

ambling toward a conflicting frame. 

Unlike the others, 

neat rows of traditional prints— 

drummers, dancers, and artists— 

the family portrait 

scarcely hangs onto the wall. 

The left side of her faint red lip 

tugs upward 

as she observes the smiling faces 

trapped in the photograph. 


Her aura breathes “vile stepmother” 

but her attire screams “fleeting lover.” 

As I watch from my post 

in the black shadows, 

my father saunters toward her 

and embraces her pear-like body. 

He pecks her red lips, 

hugs her, 

and rests his head on her neck. 

It is a scene so natural and tender, 

yet it has failed with my mother. 


I close my eyes to them 

and imagine my mother coming home 

later that night. 

With rehearsed countenance 

she will imprison my father 

in her arms. 

She will hold him, and hold him, 

long enough  

for our validation of the embrace. 

Detecting a lipstick blemish, 

she will discreetly scold my father 

advising him to be 

more vigilant  

in the children’s presence. 


I open my eyes and see 

the color drained from the room, 

the portrait still crooked 

on the wall. 

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