We used the new Crayola colors

December 1989


Mourning black
were the women’s headscarves,
like crows perched on their heads,

and the graffiti smeared on walls:
“Peace to you,
our dead.”

We colored the air
with chants
and lit candles.

We walked,

They colored the darkness
with tracers,
tanks, and guns,
the bullets’ glowing criss-cross.

The sky over the city
was clotted maroon,
the color of blood stains,
of fear.

White smoke,
gray splinters,
green shards
of broken glass,

dark brown,
shards of men.

The next day
was silent blue light.

We filled its outlines with the newest color,
the bells’ clear hue.

Claudia Serea is a Romanian-born poet who immigrated to the U.S. in 1995. Her poems and translations have appeared in publications including 5 a.m., Meridian, Harpur Palate, Word Riot, Blood Orange Review, Cutthroat, and Green Mountains Review. A two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, she is the author of Angels & Beasts (Phoenicia Publishing, Canada), The System (Cold Hub Press, New Zealand), and A Dirt Road Hangs from the Sky (8th House Publishing, Canada).
*Photo courtesy of Blue Square Thing.
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