Published on Academy of American Poets (

Red Language

If I heard the words you once used
in our wild place rough with scrub roses
in sand—if your words came back
gray and kind as mild winter
believe me I’d still understand
offer my own red language
my tongue to your tongue
so we recall what we once said
that made us live
                        made us choose to live


Copyright © 2020 Heid E. Erdrich. This poem originally appeared in The Kenyon Review. Used with permission of the poet.


Heid E. Erdrich

Heid E. Erdrich is the author of Cell Traffic: New and Selected Poems (University of Arizona Press, 2012) and National Momuments (Michigan State University Press, 2008), among others. She lives in Minnesota.

Date Published: 2020-03-01

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