Blood Quartet

Ken Anderson

                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

of blackbirds.




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.