This is working draft. Very much a draft but with possibilities.
The She in Red
Red jeans, I begged, that’s all I
really want for my 13th birthday,
but Mum would have none of it;
she’s a sit and think sort of person.
And then she said,
A young lady should be able to sit
in a chair, in a quiet contemplative
corner, and not have all eyes on her.
In red jeans she’s an unchurched child,
or a banana waiting to be peeled.
She’ll draw unwanted attention.
The ‘she’ was me.
I never understood why or when
I became a third-person “she”.
A right of passage, I assumed.
One of my friends is from China,
and she told me, “Wise women never
write with red ink. Very bad luck.
Looks like she’s writing with blood.
Death. She’ll have bad luck.”
Again, the ‘she’ was third-person me.
I’d written a shopping list in red ink,
and my friend refused to board
the bus with me until I rewrote it
in blue ink. “Blue is smart colour.
Good for shopping. We’ll get good
deal with colour blue,” she said.
I never did buy red jeans.
I do have red shoes though.
Mum was right about red.
Everyone always glances
at those shoes and smiles,
as if they’re a punchline to a joke.