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..:: CONTENTS ::..
   Volume I, Issue II

..:: POETRY ::..

..:: PROSE ::..
..:: ART ::..
..:: REVIEWS ::..
..:: ETC ::..
   Contributor's Notes

..:: ARCHIVES ::..
   Volume I, Issue I
   Volume I, Issue II
   Volume II, Issue I
   Volume II, Issue II
   Volume III, Issue I
   Volume III, Issue II
   Volume IV, Issue I

Martha Clarkson


     We painted the room blood red. The small, crumpled paint chip read hothouse tomato. Even cranberry would have accomplished the goal. Carmine, ruby, scarlet all would have passed muster. We'd have warmed to maroon, or even good old crimson -- stop sign red could have worked too. But not blood. Not the exact color of blood. It was too much. 
     But as the third coat finally set it was blood red. Not dried blood -- the top of an elbow scab or the crust around a nose -- but live blood, realistic enough to look like the walls could drip. 
     The room was supposed to be the den but we slept in it then because we were painting our bedroom too. We'd gotten bored with forest green and still had a wall to go, so our bed remained in the red room, pulled to the center, away from the fresh red paint. It was like waking up in a transfusion. 
     "This must be what life in your womb looks like," Hugh said one morning, still curled on his side, knees almost up to his chin. 
     I turned sharp, pinning the sheet around my waist, reminded of what we'd lost. I wanted to eat him alive for saying that, but then he was facing me with that sideways smile and I knew he meant it in a kind way, that he was just imagining being our baby. 
     The one window in the room did all it could to bring in yellow daylight. We opened the bottom half as though quantities of air equaled light. From the basement we hauled up a can of ivory dust to paint the oak trim, sure this would help turn the red to some benevolent fruit color. 
     We brought in lamps from all over the house. 
     "Maybe it's about wattage," Hugh said, setting up a floor lamp, briefly singing into it like a microphone. The thought of painting over the red, three coats bold, brought on a nausea even the paint fumes couldn't touch. 
     We bought white furniture from Ikea -- cheap stuff -- and the chairs and tables we carried in from another room had silver trim. Transparent curtains draped long at the floor; we bought a yellow and orange rug to throw onto the oak boards. It certainly felt warm in the room and I'd only wear a T-shirt when I worked at the white desk. Finally we moved the bed back to our forest green room. Some mornings a woodpecker tapped on the roof, then we opened our eyes to all that green, and thought we were in the woods. A skinny branch could crack underfoot at any moment. Through the open window came a tree smell, because of the Douglas Fir next to the house, the one Hugh worried about in windstorms. In the back corner of our lot were holly trees, no doubt sprouting red berries, but then, right then, we were nothing but green.


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