Julie L. Moore attends Real Community Covenant Church in Marion, Ind. Her most recent collection of poetry is Full Worm Moon.

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The Red That Colored The World

by Julie L. Moore 09-23-2019
Exhibition, Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Ground cochineal insects used for dye.

Darling of Mayans, Incas, and Aztecs, cochineal

conquered the ever-expanding world—

borne of female coccids boiled, dried, and ground

fine as dust, then woven with water, coaxing color

vibrant as any pink peppercorn, dye so prized,

long before Spain came, natives bred the prickly pear

on which the insects fed to bear fewer spines,

so, horsetail in hand, they could brush the parasites