Her Red Dress by Danny Earl Simmons

Her Red Dress
after reading Kim Addonizio’s “What Do Women Want?”

She calls it her burial gown,
and it reeks of absinthe sweat,
cigarette smoke, and one too many

broken-heeled walks home all alone
where cabs don’t go that time of night.
It slips over curves it doesn’t dare hide,

turning every used-up inch of the sticky
white skin it embraces into an ashy smolder
of regrets as deep as the way her men breathe.

It’s a wanton red lust, wet with kisses that suck
all its sour secrets before the panting end comes —
wrinkled and thrown to the floor.

by Danny Earl Simmons, first published in Vine Leaves Literary Journal.

Editor’s Note: The imagery in this poem is visceral and shocking, but is exactly what’s needed to convey a sense of lingering regret and joy entwined.