I’m good but I’m not red
bedroom curtains above my cot were not. blood inside the veins is not. unless arterial, then blue. looks green – if olive skinned, middle eastern. but not parting in the middle, man like Moses walking through like a boss. a dozen roses, a field of poppies, stain of a woman, sign of life. death: not today. haemoglobin, oxygen rich. caution, danger, mark above the door of the house with the baby. but I – not. maybe you though. but I was turmeric, like saffron yellow, like harvest moon gentle, like matinee showing, b-movie-mellow. safe. harmless. inert. unreactive. noble gas. yellow. smug. unneedy. Rastafari standalone. banana. custard cream. rich hot milk & egg yolk, expertly broken on side of pan. shell intact. hard boiled & rolled underfoot. tender, but not real. not tomato. not sauce of chillies & bell peppers, not hot. not vital. less a warning sign. more a welcome home. not the other woman. not the stop sign. not the stairwell kiss. not the deleted text. not the notification of delivery. not the name the number is saved under. no, not at all.
uncollected poem, first published in Ten: Poets of the New Generation (Bloodaxe, 2017), © Victoria Adukwei Bulley 2017, used by permission of the author