they both started out about the same but one deepened to near black and the other pale’d itself to translucent pink rose

my hands, pink,
once calloused, now
soft, my hands
wear red in the blood
blister gifted me by wood,
handle of maul. wood,
split for heat, though it calls
out in a dry, cracking,
cough. splitting,
more like a ring,
a howling
bell.

and my hands,
pink, they wear red
from beets. beets,
shorn of their greens,
soaking a yellow cedar
cutting board in a purple
exuberance.
have you heard?
about beets and
nitric oxide?
how beets cause
capillaries to dilate,
blood to rush,
appendages to
engorge? i eat
a beet a day in
quiet devotion
to my heart,
beating.

up above us,
always up above
us, a glowing orb,
resplendent in its
pulsing red. and
can you believe
it? we’ve
slandered this planet
with a moniker
of war?

where i live in
the north, there
are many months
where the night sky
never dims past
a glow. our moon
visible, yes, but not
much else can
penetrate the sun’s
humming command of
our sky. late-
Summer arrives,
salmon change
their color as
they push into
their beds, beds
of both birth
and death. i
incline my evening
eyes to the sky and
zip myself into an
extra layer of warmth.
and what is that,
blooming faintly
up above?
quietly,
gently,
with neither
aggression nor
blunt
bludgeoning
force, it is
Mars,
blooming red,
in our ever-
breathing
sky.

Published by Zak

an intertidal island in an ocean of impermanence.

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