sylvia plath paris 1956
Poets Intersecting at Red
by Sylvia Riojas Vaughn

Sylvia Plath mentioned
the hue twenty-two times
in her last writings,
scholars note.
I’m awestruck, for I,
also Sylvia,
also a poet,
like the brightness
of a cardinal
against snow.
My nails,
like cinnamon drops.
My sweaters,
of Santa’s coat.
My lingerie,
torrid as flames.
But her heart
exploded in her lines.
She wrote of her
own attempts to die;
I, who’ve never tasted
that dark fruit,
write of those
who have.
What color

PHOTO: Poet Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) in Paris, 1956, ©The Lily Library, Indiana University, Bloomington.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: For the SAME NAME series, I immediately thought of Sylvia Plath. I found the article What Sylvia Plath Loved on the Academy of American Poets website as I pondered what we had in common. Number 10 on the list was the color red, which I love, too. I was glad to find some things we both liked, including The Joy of Cooking cookbook. But I couldn’t escape the fact that she lived with depression, and felt compelled to include her sadness in my poem.


Sylvia Riojas Vaughn
lives in Plano, Texas. She has work pending in Red River Review, and in an anthology of poets living in the greater Dallas/Fort Worth area. Her poems have appeared in The Great Gatsby Anthology, Silver Birch Press; Triadæ, Lifting the Sky: Southwestern Haiku & Haiga, Texas Poetry Calendar, HOUSEBOAT, Beechwood Review, The Applicant, Diálogo, Label Me Latina/o, Somos en escrito: The Latino literary online magazine, Desde Hong Kong: Poets in conversation with Octavio Paz, and numerous other anthologies and journals. She has been selected as a Houston Poetry Fest Juried Poet three times. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, she belongs to the Dallas Poets Community.

PHOTO: Sylvia Riojas Vaughn approximately two years ago, Plano, Texas. The roses, not quite red, were a gift from dear friends.