Red: The colour of anemones, poppies, chrysanthemums, and lover’s roses. The colour of fresh blood, of hot coals, of rage, of desire, of innocent hearts and concubines’ lips. The colour of roman candles, roadside flares, and fake rubies scattered across slick black tarmac. The colour that appears in the morning to warn sailors of approaching storms and appears in the evening to promise better days ahead. The colour of Little Red Riding Hood’s favourite cloak, the Red Queen’s favourite gown, and of houses burning down.
Black: The colour of fabled roses, and of maroon and purple flowers in their nighttime disguises. The colour of clouded-over midnight skies, of dead screens, of hangman’s heart, of a dark magician’s sleeves. The colour of shadow puppets and Dixieland clarinets, of the inside of tornados and abandoned coal mines, and of the moon’s other, secret side.
Pink: The colour of peonies, bougainvillea, and many different roses. The colour of the horsehead nebula, some martinis, and some champagne. The colour of albino elephants and lychees, of human genitalia and tongues. The colour of Barbie’s limo and glam rock sequins, of watermelons and spun sugar, flamingos and feather boas.
Blue: The colour of gardenias, hydrangeas, and genetically modified roses. The colour of sex and of distant constellations. The colour of dry ice ignited by nightclub lights, and many songs informed by broken hearts. The colour of lonesome highways and creatures seen in moonlight. The colour of icebergs that bring down pleasure liners and of lightning bolts that bring to life mad scientists’ lonely monsters.
Gold: The colour of marigolds, and daylilies, and roses dipped in gold. The colour of memories of the harvest moon and the summer sun. Of pharaohs’ treasure and King Midas’ trail of damage. Of the neon sign outside the gold rush diner. Of amulets and lanterns, cornfields and coronets.
Purple: The colour of lavender and clematis and plastic dollar store roses. The colour of Bacchus’ grapes, of amethyst, and Icelandic volcanoes in the twilight. The colour that symbolizes magic. The colour of love bites and bruises. The colour most loved by flamboyant poets and royal dressmakers and the tellers of sordid stories.
Green: The colour of limelight gladiolus and roses dipped in dye. The colour, obviously, of money and envy, and the last flash of daylight. The colour of absinthe and snakes and the Wicked Witch and the Fairy Queen’s wings.
White: The colour of calla lilies, ghost orchids, dahlias, and roses bought for weddings and funerals. The colour of elephant ivory and walrus tusks and the long ago winter moons. The colour of summer gardens buried beneath ten feet of snow. Of Chinese lanterns drifting away, of cocaine and wedding cakes, of blank pages when all the words have failed. The colour of the absence of colour. The exact colour of your spectral spirit when you visit me at night, flickering in the shadows, then disappearing in a flash, like a playing card vanishing up a dark magician’s sleeve.