Issue > Poetry
Rebecca Cook

Rebecca Cook

Rebecca Cook, a 2009 Bread Loaf Scholar in Fiction, writes poetry and prose and has published in journals such as New England Review and Wicked Alice. Her chapbook of poems, The Terrible Baby (2006), is available from Dancing Girl Press. Her first novel, Click, is forthcoming in 2013 from Kitsune Books.

Red Number One

There was a path of burning and an open scar. Fifty times she tried to wash it out. Red is a disease and her favorite color of car that builds up so much the night can't come in. The first one was a Jeep. She learned to drive it in a field, always afraid of the play of the wheel. Once she lost control for a split moment and then his hands were on hers, jerking it back. There's always a reason. That's the first thing he taught her. How to stop. But there's no way to stop it. She almost let it get away but her hands wouldn't work. Always a red thread was tied around her wrists. Once she saw a bull mounting a cow. She was afraid but her father barked "He's breeding her" and that was that. She thought someone might die and then there was a burning bush and a prophet. She washed the dirt from his feet and he held her in the air, up and up until she touched the ceiling of the sky. They say your first god is your father bouncing you on his knee. They say salvation is just a holding on for dear life. There was something she meant to say but she didn't want to fall off. There was something she tried to reach but she couldn't hold on. When it stops, it stops forever. But really there was only an afghan, red with black stripes and she pulled it up to her chin. She went to sleep and didn't dream. She was too dangerous for dreams. When she dreams, the stars fall down. When she dreams, it starts all over.

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