I Imagine being on the 14th floor
alone in an empty building.
The carpeting is red. I feel like
I’m inside a red oyster shell,
a darkroom of loneliness with
nothing to break the quiet.

Red reaches out with stinky hands
like the mean boy who grabbed me
after school, the one who laughed
and called me a pirate
when I walked in the classroom
with glasses and one eye patched.

Since I’m not locked in this building,
how do I walk out of my head
and forgive red thoughts, rub it’s
stain off my imagination? Maybe
tonight, despite weak eyes, I can paint
dreams in pale pastels.

Mary Sesso is a retired nurse who lives in Bethesda, Md. With her dog, Beau. Her latest poetry appeared in Loch Raven Review, Cutbank Literary Journal. Cardinal Review and One Art. She’s the author of 2 chapbooks, The Open Window and Her Hair Plays With Fire.