Weekly Write: “Red Mist” by Scott Wiggerman

Red Mist

Home is but a footprint
hardened deep in his heart.
Not a word from family
since he left Georgia for Texas
two decades ago as a teen,
not a chance he’ll seek them out—
pride tenacious as nutmeat to a shell;
his disease, the stain on the fingers.

Some nights his ache for love
is so labored, he wakes
with blood on his tongue,
a sour excretion on the sheets.
He lies for hours in moonlight,
a barren stretch of rock,
watching clouds murk away the glow.

Mornings, with arms
that can barely lift his torso,
with legs unsteady without a cane,
he stumbles to the bathroom
and slouches naked before a mirror.
Though the flesh is sexless,
a patchwork of sags and sores,
he puckers his lips
like a grand Southern belle,
stares disaster in the face,
and reaches for his favorite lipstick.


Scott Wiggerman is author of three books of poetry, Leaf and Beak: Sonnets (finalist for the Texas Institute of Letters’ Helen C. Smith Memorial Award), Presence, and Vegetables and Other Relationships; and editor of several volumes, including the best-selling Wingbeats: Exercises & Practice in Poetry (I & II) and three anthologies of Southwestern poetry, most recently, Weaving the Terrain.



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