Autumn Sky Poetry . . . Number 20 . . .

When You Say, Pass the Red Spray Paint

     by Karina van Berkum

Red is a hard smell

on a new calf in Holland and

                    red is a body in the ocean’s wet

                    gut without permission or

                              red is the shape of my father’s

                              mouth on the phone at the counter.

                                        Red is his dead baby, too,

                                        (room painted yellow) or

                                                  red is a raincoat that walked

                                                  the way hands skim piano’s skin and

                                        red is the wet on these fingers

                                        the first time they touched

                              red over Oma like her hospital

                              lights: quiet, slivered, living.

                    Red happened once in my twenty

                    second summer standing 

          with no epiphany, looking

          up feeling

          like a warm


          trout who never

          wanted that

          dancing, scarlet



Karina van Berkum lives in Boston, where she is completing her final year at Emerson College studying writing and literature.


© 2011 Karina van Berkum