Red

Out of the darkness
they come in
sky-high heels and
thigh-high boots and
sneakers with the toes
kicked out
of shelters they know
too well
they make tracks like
rose petals
lipstick kisses
blisters and blood spatter
clatter of red
shoes clicking
scuffing down lonely
stretches of highway
through labyrinth industrial
parks and darkened streets
They come in
packs
have each others’ backs
as they did in life
sister, brother, wife
they circle with smiles
like knife
gashes eye
lashes like piano wire and
teeth like broken bones
they are coming
home
our dead sisters,
brothers, wives,
red shoes click-clacking
scuffing on pavement
graves bent open
and silences
broken
red throated
they will name you
red handed
and red clawed
they will claim you
and brand you
complicit
complacent
murderers
If you drown
in their red blood
it will have been
too long in
coming

December 17th is International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

If you’re in Ottawa this Saturday, go to Parliament Hill at 2pm. Look for the red umbrellas. We’ll see you there.