This poem was written in memory of a childhood friend who lost her
brother when he slipped into the Rio Grande River.
Millie went to an artist retreat with a desire
to express herself without constraint.
She was instructed to go to her core
and reveal what was hidden there.
Behind her eyes she found the space
where the scent of panic was linked
to her hunger. Sorrow she recognized
by the pain in her shoulders the place
where she hid her tears.
They fell like raindrops and splashed
on to her canvas. No more struggles
with shadows or gestures, nor
did she focus on facial contours.
She poured ebony brown from corner to corner
creating a background dark and deep.
Then she drizzled a circular web using
hues of royal blue and lemon yellow,
adding slashes of black with splatters of scarlet.
Millie discovered the color of fear
remembering the playground
on her first day of school. She recognized
the tinge of joy when she found Jimmy,
her brother, at the end of the day.
He drowned later that year at the age of nine.
Some paints outlined the hole in her center,
and others highlighted the color of love.