Posted in Life Writing, Mindful Monday, My Poetry, Writing in Freedom

“Red Is a Tricky Color” for #OctPoWriMo Day 8


If you love to write poetry, you love a good poetry challenge, and you are missing April’s NaPoWriMo then you are in the right place. There are now multiple Novel writing months it is past time we added another Poetry month. October is a great time to challenge poets to a poem a day for thirty one days.

This October, I’m also focusing on gratitude, so each of my poems will use the daily prompt, and deal in some way with thankfulness. Come join me on this poetic journey – and feel free to comment, or link your own poems.

I know I’m now terribly out of order, but I promise I’ll post something with all my prompts in a neat row by the end of the month. At this point, I’m just trying to get caught up as well as I can, and, since I haven’t yet written my poems for days 6 and 7, that makes this one next on my OctPoWriMo roster.

The October 8 prompt is to write a poem about a color and my memories attached to it. I was tempted to use turquoise or another blue, since they are my favorites, and I love surrounding myself with them. But then I thought of a color that holds the most ambivalent place in my life- and, in this case, there turned out to be powerful reasons behind my turbulent response to this hue…

Red is a Tricky Color


Is a tricky color

Filled with memories



A multiplicitous hue

And sometimes a cry.


Like the cherries and berries

And the apples

On my grandmother’s Hoosier cabinet

I was maybe five years old

Almost too short still to see

But not quite

And I’d watch her hands move

On that faded-cherry Formica counter

That could be pulled out or pushed in

And we would chat and she’d smile at me

While she made her magical ‘jells’

The memory wrapped in paraffin wax

And sorrow.

She died when I was nine

And I wore the ruby ring she’d given me

Because of thirty-six grandbabies

I was the only girl

Born in July.


Of the carpet

On the bedroom floor

I shared with a contentious sister

Red carpet pink walls

When I prefer blue

Because blue was for boys

And pink for girls and

Everyone knows that.

Sometimes we played

The Odd Couple

Tossing all the mess into the middle

Of the floor, and jumping over the pile

Picking one thing up with each pass.

We played Masterpiece and Clue and

Parcheesi and Othello and Sorry!

And her little organ

On that red floor.

We fought, claiming territory

Each for our own.

We wanted a line of tape

A curtain a bookshelf

To divide red turf and the space above

But we were not allowed.

Sisters should get along.”

There were fights in that room

Of red carpet and pink walls

Sometimes bloodshed.

Red drops falling on red.

Screams and blows

Doled out by parents

Hours spent standing in the corner

On that red carpet

Or in the middle of the room

Holding out my arms

Because I was bad

Or someone said I was.


Is a tricky color.

My grandmother’s cabinet

Here in my study

Same faded-cherry Formica countertop

That can be pushed in or pulled out

Piled high with my kids’ art, and my own.

The little ruby ring lost somewhere in that room

Of the red carpet and pink walls

(Pink is just a faded shade of red)

On my wedding day, long before

I gave birth to my own July daughter

With no ruby to gift her

It’s gone, but like my


Not forgotten.

I smile at the faded-cherry

Welcome in my home

And try to forget

Those wounding moments

In the room of

Red floor and pink walls

Because red

Is a tricky color.

Like what you read? Drop me a comment in the box below!

And find more lovely and loving poetry at OctPoWriMo!


I am myself. I own my life, and live with three other people who own theirs. My intention is to do only those things that bring me joy, and to give myself wholly to those things I do. Writing has been my passion throughout my life, and this will become the home for my writing life...because it brings me great joy!

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