by Phyllis Jean Green
In the space of an hour, the color seeps. The Georgia
O’Keefe poppy, the Matisse blue, Van Gogh yellow
splashing yellow, and vulval purple he sees
as he enters her are rain and ice. The tropical
oranges, forests, macaws, and plums ala Gauguin,
and hot pink streamers that flash and pulse
each time she takes him in her mouth are gray,
only gray. Ansel Adams could not have made
their negative positive. Color out of there. Death
wears a brighter shroud. Where did the gold get off to?
Jade, café au lait, and black pearl? Can’t look.
The pair suspend. It is as if a giant hand clutching
a jar of library paste reached down to glue the two
on corregated cardboard that has warped and darkened
from being left out. Clouded sun dried.
Microwave finished off. The figures on the paper
strain to put space. Need to part! Can’t stay
stuck, can’t not. All that’s left is to hope the color
comes back. Be still and stay cool is the thing.
Fatal mistake was spelling out Love. She aches
to stand. No way. He wills his legs to walk
and keep walking. Nada. Soon their faces, hands,
and legs are all that show. Bleached and shadowed,
for a moment, they stand in relief. Stark. Stark
relief. Is that a hint of blue, or not? Start to touch
and wind up with a handful of air. Just grope.