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Death by Strawberry
Diana Anhalt


The color red can kill you,
something in the pigment,
but I’d prefer being done in by strawberries—
a quality fruit—than by tomatoes 
or, God forbid, a jelly roll.

I see myself plunging my hand into a tin bucket, 
seizing a strawberry by the stem,
and dangling it above my mouth, 
juice sticky on my fingertips like blood, 
and sinking my teeth into perfumed flesh: 
The cold explodes on my palate like a scream, 
stings my lips,
crinkles my tongue, 
stains my teeth.
My throat closes around it.
I swallow the sun.

Yes, a red death I can believe in. But to go tamely, 
my executioner the color gray, for example.
That would be inconceivable.

This poem first appeared in Haz Mat (Vol. 5 Issue 1), and also appeared in Daybreak (March, 1999).
Used here with the author’s permission.

Diana Anhalt was born in New York, but lived in Mexico for many years before moving to Atlanta, Georgia to be closer to family. A former high school teacher, editor, and civic leader, she is the author of A Gathering of Fugitives: American Political Expatriates in Mexico 1947-1965 (Archer Books), five chapbooks, and numerous essays, short stories, and book reviews in both English and Spanish.





Post New Comment:
"God forbid, a jelly roll." Ha ha! Love this Diana. As playful and delicious as you! Lois
Posted 06/27/2011 03:10 PM
Heading directly to my local farmers' market! Thanks Diana for a delicious image.
Posted 06/22/2011 10:16 AM
Entertaining and well written!
Posted 06/21/2011 12:37 PM
Fun to read and a great title.
Posted 06/21/2011 12:07 PM
Yes, a red death I can believe in. Terrific line... thank you.
Posted 06/21/2011 09:03 AM
Sigmund Freud probably never actually said "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar," but, after reading Diana's poem,there seems to be no doubt that a strawberrey could ever be just a strawberry. Fun.
Posted 06/21/2011 08:09 AM

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