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The Painter (For Ted Ramsay)

Christine Nichols

This poem is a painting.
A beginnerīs watercolor in pinks and blues,
a pale imitation of a masterīs hand.

But I wonīt have Monet echoes.

I want bright lights, van Gogh
reds as deep as blood.
I hook paint over a finger,
and swish it thick on canvas.

I open my mouth, raise my finger
taste color, breathe it,
feel it latex on my tongue -
but, I must paint.

I dip five fingers in bright green,
streak lines in bold statements.


colors will bleed and blend.
A drip will run down,
pool and hang, a multi-hued tear drop.
I will leave it, too,
an imperfect life.

With the pinky of my off hand,
I smudge black
and roll an odd shape like a circle
stage left and up a bit.

I wipe my fingers
across the skin of my belly
and the outside of my shirt
evidence that at least for today

I am a painter.