Extravagance of Red
            after Matisse

She painted the room red.
            Not just the walls—the ceiling,

the floor. Even the wood table, red.
            She felt unable to explain why.

Something about wanting life
            to shout at her from every surface.

Something about death and defiance.
            Was she happy in her red room?

She bought red flowers for the vases:
            yellow, yes, there had to be some

contrast, besides the dog and cat
            who were the color of dogs and cats.

Some nights when she sat
            at the red table, moving the vases

filled with red flowers aside,
            she wrote her confessions—

these, too, in red. Not red ink.
            Blood, metaphorically speaking.

Why, although she loved him,
            she had to leave him. The way

he insisted on balance, unwilling
            to risk the least extravagance.

 

 

 

 

Lynne Knight is the author of six full-length poetry collections and six chapbooks. Her work has appeared in many journals and won several awards. In 2018, she became a permanent resident of Canada, where she lives on Vancouver Island.