Red and Its Biographer

by Steve Mueske
     —after Billy Collins

I picture red's biographer at his desk,
hunched over, writing incendiary prose
by candlelight.  The manuscript begins

with red's humble entrance
into the visible spectrum, a low wave,
and covers its rise to a primary color.

Red, of course, is amused
by the attention, but remains aloof.
The biographer, who's amassed tomes

on dancing shoes, dresses, the nature of desire,
is a shy man who keeps to himself,
a shut-in in his little cabin.  He seldom

angers, and would remain sexually
inert were it not for lingerie
catalogs.  If red had its say,

it would have preferred a Plutarch,
Boswell, or even Jack Miles
to this wisp of a man.  Ah, but winter

promises to be long and cold
and there is a warm fire here.
Red might stay for a while,

nudging now and again
when the text becomes too dull
and colorless.

© 2003 by Steve Mueske. All rights reserved.