Every tree needs a red dress
in autumn, a crisp fire-red,
fashion statement at November’s Ball,
a party in country fields
fueled by apples, cold cider in cups.
Every woman owns at least
one red dress, its sensual fabric
as much as the color
luring her into sin—even the hem
caught in a fever too quick
to quench.. That crimson dress
slinking toward the midnight hour,
bold enough to act on its own.
Stories spring from taffeta and tulle,
the daring bodice, an army of sequins
beneath the hunter-green moon.
Kiss the woman, love the dress,
rake the excess, leave it.
This season, a poem-in-progress,
a photograph—what the shutter saw
before the sun chose to set. Star.
Always red. Remember the red.
Inspired by “A Sugar Maple Tree on Saint Paul Street” ©Bill Hughes
Shirley J. Brewer graduated from careers in bartending, palm-reading and speech therapy. She serves as poet-in-residence at Carver Center for the Arts & Technology in Baltimore. Her poems garnish BarrowStreet, Poetry East, Slant, Gargoyle, Comstock Review, and many other journals. Shirley’s poetry chapbooks include A Little Breast Music, 2008, Passager Books, and After Words, 2013, Apprentice House. In 2017, Main Street Rag released her first full-length collection of poems, Bistro in Another Realm. Shirley was awarded the first Creativity Award for Excellence in Plorking (Play + Work) from the University of Baltimore, where she earned her Master’s degree in Creative Writing/Publishing Arts. Her definition of shame is a bare wrist.