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  • Paula Veloso Babadi

Cardinal Red

by Paula Veloso Babadi

More than poinsettias or

red curly-ribboned Christmas gifts,

more than glossy lacquered lines

of red candy apples in the window,

more than clumsy Crayola-red shapes

on a toddler's first piece of art,

more than sumptuous strawberry-red berries

begging to be tasted,

more than the competent clarity of fire engine reds racing to rescue,

the deep scarlet cardinal captures me

in the fleeting seconds of his landing,

in the sound of his call,

in the almost imperceptible rising and falling

of his splendid chest.

He breathes life and bleeds red, as red as the drops of blood

falling from our Savior's wounds,

and causes me to remember my father

quoting Matthew 6:26 from his red Douay-Rheims

"Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow,

nor do they reap, nor gather into barns;

and your heavenly Father feedeth them.

Are not you of much more value than they?"

In this cardinal red moment,

the two hundred and eighty-four other shades

referenced in books

cannot compare.

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