Sarah van Praag Leonard, “red, oh how I want you!” and “No Exit.”

red, oh how I want you!

               after Federico Garcia Lorca.


blushing clouds, threads of red.                 two ravens

crossing the moon, shadow of my dreams.           red

night.     red stars.       red geraniums on the balcony

where you stand.             red sash circling your waist.

scurry    through   dark lanes, sandals laced with red

ribbons,     feet stirring red dust of the plains.      cold

nights.   soft dirt.   muddy dawn.    love me as I leave.

rosebud in your hair,       eyes burning.     now, dance

under   flaming   trees!      poppies will whisper as the

sky turns round and round.    arabesque of blood and



No Exit

after Sartre

Dogs of death howl at my heels.
Hear my cry, Perfect Woman —
earth rooted, stars above.
Heal me with your graciousness.
My sins pollute me inside and out.
Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa.
I crawl on my knees, offer these
prayers for my soul. Save me
from the vultures that hover above,
waiting. I whisper, I plea. Oh,
sinner! Barbed wire around my lips,
razor blades in my vagina, raging
tongue and a viper’s fangs. I contaminate
everyone I know. Cleanse my mind.
Open my heart.        I am not ready.

About the Author

Sarah van Praag Leonard studies Creative Writing at Paradise Valley Community College, Phoenix, AZ. Her BA and MA are from Stanford University. Professional background includes teaching Health and Fitness (college, U.S. Air Force, and private industry). Sarah’s poems have appeared in Paradise Review, Gila Review, Canyon Voices, Vortex, and Encores.





One comment

  1. AZ Writer · · Reply

    Love this fresh exploration of the many facets of red!

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