The Lady with the Steel Blade
The razor parts a seam, fraying the vein.
What crimson threads! Like a torch, the arm flares, red
as a poppy.
The Lady in the Red Dress
I would tie long, flowing, wine-colored scarves
to my wrists
and dance the last dance,
but that I treasured the damask bolts
in the trousseau
of my heart.
One day, I will slip
into my red dress, trailing its red train
—the final wedding gown—but till I marry,
I must not stain its crabbed embroidery
nor pinch a crease
in the least pulse
of its flame.
The Lady with the Sharp Shard
From my heart’s shelf,
a roll spilled, unrolling the rich folds
of its cherry pattern. With a glass knife,
I carved a gorgeous rose
on my chest. Now death has a hand
in my soil, gripping a black stone.
The Lady with Mauve Rouge
I would bake the dainty pie
of my head, but that it would sing, buoyant
with yeast, but that it would hatch dozens
Ken Anderson was a finalist in the 2021 Saints and Sinners poetry contest. His novel Sea Change: An Example of the Pleasure Principle was a finalist for the 2012 Ferro-Grumley Award and an Independent Publisher Editor’s Choice. His novel Someone Bought the House on the Island was a finalist in the Independent Publisher Book Awards. A stage adaptation won the Saints and Sinners Playwriting Contest and premiered May 2, 2008, at the Marigny Theater in New Orleans. An operatic version premiered June 16, 2009, at the First Existentialist Congregation in Atlanta. The Statue of Pan (screenplay) was an Official Selection at the LGBTQ Unbordered International Film Festival.