(Amun, the Egyptian god who is invoked
at the end of Jewish and Christian prayers)
I’d paint myself red. Like Gabriel’s copper-tinted wings
in the window at Basilique Saint-Denis.
The light would pass through me
& I’d color—I’d change—everything.
The magic of course, I always say, is not
in being sawn in half, but in the rebirth
Climbing back onstage night after night.
The ritual of it all.
Or I’d paint myself red like Matisse’s red room—
to plant an idea.
Something like that, he said something like that.
Or maybe the red in Picasso’s Girl
before a Mirror, where the red holding the mirror
is the color of the box—my box—
my twin curled up inside.
There is always another girl hidden
in the mirror. The mirror is always red.
Red has many values. The troubadour’s rose.
The whore of Babylon’s red hair. The red
you’re waiting to see spill across the stage
when I’m sawn in half.
I like the idea of planting an idea.
In China, red is the color for brides, & in
the Renaissance, Mary wears red under her cloak.
Some gods are painted red. Visible
in the blue sky above the cannons, but not
on the battlefield.