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.