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A quarterly international literary journal

Billy's Favorite Color

/ Poetry /

His favorite tree was the cherry, how he loved

the riot of pink fluttering blossoms in April, the

rich ruby fruit of June and the misty leaves of

October the same color as plasma dripping from

an i.v. into a blue vein. The soul that was this sweet

child’s soul was too young to figure the arithmetic

of illness and the final answer. Despite everything,

his favorite color was red, despite the flooding river

of hematological crimson which had nothing to do

with m&m’s, easter eggs, wax lips or cinnamon sticks.

This child’s soul was clean but not blank, it was

exuberant and gaudy with scarlett crayon markings on

bandaids, and maroon letters scrawled on the palm

of his hand and red licorice and play-doh molded into

a stethoscope. He still laughed and played even when

confined to two dimensions: pillow up or pillow down

to be able to see the t.v. Billy made “whee” sounds

even as he approached the end, even sweating in

pajamas the color of fire engines and apples, that

strange day when morning turned to evening, that

evening of tears as we prayed our most excellent

prayers and the ghastly paleness of his skin begged

for the healing of fingerpaint. The soul that was this

child is now running-skipping-jumping full of color.

Red is no longer the color of trembling fear, of blood

that won’t stop. Now it means strawberries squished

by ruddy, ticklish bare feet all the forever-summer.


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