Fall 2017 (Volume 21, Issue I)
R. THOMAS SHEARDY
A WOMAN LIKE NOVEMBER
November abhors colors: especially greens.
I knew a woman like that once.
She hated green: any viridian, every terre verte.
(She was a painter and she knew all her colors by name:
oxide of chromium and phthalocyanine)
How bright and sunny she was when she arrived,
As if the summer had got itself caught in her hair
And then followed her about like a Flemish halo
Or Guadalupe’s mandorla.
And then, like November, one by one, she began to blow her colors away.
“I don’t like this one, today,” she’d say, and, “I hate this one too…”
She’d scrape them off and fling them aside.
She stopped cleaning her brushes.
They grew stiff and brittle from neglect.
Her pigments hardened and cracked like lichens on November tree trunks.
My palette seemed bright then, but lonely.
Lying by itself on the taboret.
When black and white December arrived,
A beautiful limner with chalks and charcoal,
The painter left.
December suited me then.
Her flat etchings and hard-edged monoprints purified my palette.
Together, we now render our lives in shades of gray,
As shadows cast by colorless trees:
A grisaille of forgotten desires.