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Published: Sat Jul 1 2017
Salman Toor, Fag Puddle with Candle, Shoe, and Flag (detail), 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, N.Y. Photo: Farzad Owrang.

We are living in red,
in the creasework and blood.

Admit it: we are living
in something like red—cheek-pink

calmed into evening, the lovers feeding
off the skin-heat.

It has always been 95 degrees in this
room. Cool yourself. It has always been

my dream to burn to death when asked
which I would prefer. Are we living in that red

tip of old fire consuming us slow? Are we
destructing like we were promised? Admit it:

you’ve thought about being yourself and not,
the cold space between. Admit it: you’ve bled

from your own folds and called it art. You’ve wanted
to hang it from the ceiling and charm a child to sleep.

You want to repaint
the room. You want—

Caroline Chavatel’s poems have appeared in Gulf Coast, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Nimrod, and elsewhere. She is an MFA candidate at New Mexico State University, where she is assistant poetry editor of Puerto del Sol. She lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and is co-founder of Madhouse Press. (updated 12/2017)

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