Compared to this
resplendent crash of color,
the sky is dusty ash. Who knows how many
hues God used to wash sea water blue?
I watch waves surge and shrink and catch the sun
as our ship cuts through the Caribbean.
Van Gogh devoted hours, days, his life,
to study color so that he could paint
the picture that was always on his mind,
the starry night, richer, he believed,
than day’s sunlight. With diverse tints, he shaped
a shade of hope around the moon and stars.
If he were here, which brushstrokes and which hues
would Van Gogh choose to paint these thronging
waves, the color of my deepest longing?
An angel drags her by the
hand and warns:
Don’t look back.
But she, a woman with no voice or name,
Stops mid-flight and tilts her chin.
Just one glance
She tells herself as her tears run and sting,
She staggers at the sight.
A fire-storm rains on fields and flocks,
Neighbors and progeny.
Her blood and bones, her skirt,
Her heart, right there, right then,
Turn to salt-encrusted stone.
Now a pillar stands, south
of the Dead Sea,
A mineral reminder of a woman
Looking back to see
The life she wrongly loved
And couldn’t rightly let go of.
When Papa and Dada say, “Henry, it’s time,”
When the afternoon sun has run out of its shine,
When the trucks are so
tired they’ve fallen sleep,
When you have been tucked beneath blanket and sheet,
You’re never alone, though
day’s at an end,
Take heart, Little Man, the Moon is your friend.
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