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Red Shift

Kestrel McLoughlin

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Kestrel McLoughlin


TW: transphobia metaphors




I was once your chameleon
Each of you would need only speak a colour
And, like a coming sneeze, I couldn't help but become it


This would have been softer on me if you had a consolidated plot
A palette in mind at the outset
of friendly little blue-distanced life
But I learned for you people
To simultaneously follow all your expectations
Using science you don't even know of to combined filters of light


I became green for you -
The kind of green that florists disregard,
That is regarded as mere palette,
Agreeable to anything
irrelevant to colour coordination at weddings
because to the everyday eye it doesn't exist unless you're looking for it


I became beige
Not even for you but by you
The blandest of all colours,
Devoid even of the shine of white
The colour of Earth where it has gone dead
The colour of stone when it has been pulverized and blown chaotically flat
Life in beige places holds onto nourishment desperately
and with jealous violence
And that is what you seek for me


And I stilled myself, steeled myself,
As one of you sprayed sheen on the beige,
In an attempt at the worst colour ever produced in the 20th century:
Shiny beige
You, especially, are best represented by champagne
Boringness made artificially shiny
Through the mimicry of temporary bubliness
-expletive- champagne and -expletive- your champagne gift
Get away from my children with your champagne


I red-shifted away from this environment for one year
For one year I was a red neither cherry nor crimson
I mixed just enough pre-approved blue into it to turn it a little purple


Did you know scientists literally discovered a new shade of blue?
You want blue? I'll give you blue
It's real and it's wearable and it makes you look radioactive and it's glorious
You're welcome I'm blue


I tried
It's in my core conceits to be any colour I imagine
I can scare away predators made to fell lions
just by being a kind of beautiful you don't like
I've seen things
I could show you things
I could become things you didn't know your eyes could do


But you, daughter of champagne, you cheeky but respectful rosé,
Knew something deeper about me:
Something deeper in my programming
Aclimatizes me to my surroundings
Fades me into wherever I am
You know where the buttons are that do that
I showed you them one by one
I showed you where to touch me to invoke each hue
And you touched me


So you know
That my core function
Is to become what the world needs
And you are my world


But I remember the year
Your father tricked me into liking steak medium-rare
By cooking it for 10 seconds less each time
I will try for one year
To blue-shift towards you
But I may yet need to acclimatize you to me
As slowly as you need


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