The Case for Red

Ferrying my siblings 

down the gravel street

in a red wheeled wagon.

My sister so fragile 

in red overalls and a red barrette 

on her head or maybe 

it was my brother in red.

The dusk exhaling red

onto our red shingled roof

through the red patio door.

My mom brushing her hands

on her red apron 

her voice a tired bell.

Warm daal on a red potholder 

with a singed corner. Mango pickle 

in shimmering red oil 

in a reused jar with a red lid.

The graceful red blur of

Sridevi or Rekha or

Vanna White on TV.

The red of my dad’s open mouth

gummying roti, chewing rice,

spitting out a red chili

to escape the red heat.

My deep red yearning 

for a flicker of his attention.

Gritty red Cinnamint 

zinging across my teeth.

Finishing books in bed

under the streetlamp’s red glow.

Tracing Minnie’s red bow

on my comforter while waiting

for the stilling red of sleep. 

My fading memories, 

red-bellied salmon

struggling upstream.

Ami Patel, a smiling woman with brown skin and shoulder length hair in a beige sweater in front of out of focus branches.

Ami Patel (she/her) is a queer, diasporic South Asian poet and Young Adult fiction writer. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and a Tin House Workshop alum. Ami’s poetry is published in various places, including The West Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, and They Rise Like A Wave: An Anthology of Asian American Women Poets. You can find her online at