I Paint Your Portrait
But, on the Canvas, a Library
I ask you for one word, the name of the last thing I loved with my hands, so hungry
and permanent that my fingernails have not recovered, a way to document
drowning without irony, to tell my family that I did not survive the flooded
streets, my bones will arrive wrapped in marsh marigold, but I am still
alive. You send me a hand-drawn map, identify the point of conflux, provide
the original name of each source of water. This is the last gasp of summer, I say,
and you are a dictionary of each season, the hour when oak leaves will begin
to drop, an index of color, based upon inches of rainfall in April and May. I mix prairie
wolf fur, yellow fire, purple cattail dust, I stroke your face onto the empty white where
I am un-surprised to see that both your eyes are open and wet, a quiet blooming
of jewelweed at the river’s edge.
About the writer:
Beth Gordon received her MFA from American University a long time ago and was not heard from again until 2017 when her poems began to appear in numerous journals including Into the Void, Outlook Springs, Drunk Monkeys, Verity La and After Happy Hour Review. Her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. She is also Poetry Editor of Gone Lawn.
Image: “Thoughtful” from the series The Individual by Deborah Norton. Oil/mixed media on Masonite. 24 X 24 inches. Norton is best known for her layered mixed media oil paintings. Inspired by expressionism including the “combines” of Rauschenberg and the raw figurative paintings of Schiele, Norton experiments with translucent paint layers, color and mixed media to expose life and its’ always changing expression. Deborah Norton is O:JA&L’s “Featured Artist” for March 2019.