Spring 1992 • Vol. XIV No. 2 Poetry |

Rouge

That morning she stood in the kitchen and considered the chair, its ignoble lines, its wood of no interest or value, no grain to coax out with a brush, no grace to enhance with the tools one uses to strip away old varnish. So she bought a can of spray paint, thinking, I'll just cover it up. She laid newspaper onto the clean linoleum. She crouched beside the chair and worked from the legs up. She thought she was a genius— the paint swirled around the chair and settled without streaks. Cherry red, barn red, razzle red. Blood red as the thin spray floated in the soft air. Only day by day, as the chair hardened in its new skin, as she cooked the same indifferent meals, did she see the wash of color she had cast over the room. Lit by a deeper light, one grade darker shadow, the kitchen reddened, as if it had been pollinated by the most wrathful tropical flower. It came off on her fingertips, on the sponge she drew across the counter. And the whit

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Ann Townsend is the author of Dime Store Erotics and The Coronary Garden (poems) and editor of Radiant Lyre: Essays on Lyric Poetry (with David Baker). She directs the creative writing program at Denison University and is a founding member of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts.

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