“The Red Blouse” by Roderick Townley

On this fourth day of National Poetry month, here’s a frightening poem by Roderick Townley.

The Red Blouse

Across Kansas on cruise control
he drives toward a woman’s body.
Stubbled fields flush orange

in the final light. He squeezes
the pedal . . . 75 . . . 80,
a mad organist playing his deepest note.

Ahead 200 miles, a woman
crosses a room, sweetens
her tea, meets with students. But

something’s off. A humming
like bees, like tires over darkening roads,
patrols her mind.

She searches the mirror for clues.
A coil of hair, loosened, hangs
like a bell-pull. She pins it up. No

use. Nothing is any use.
She touches her breast lightly
through the red blouse.


Originally published in The Yale Review;
also in Poetry: An Introduction (4th ed.),
edited by Michael Meyer. NY, St. Martin’s Press, 2004

About 2River

Since 1996, 2River has been an online site of poetry and art, quarterly publishing THE 2RIVER VIEW and occasionally publishing individual authors in the 2River Chapbook Series.
This entry was posted in NPM. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.