The Painting of the World

                                                                                                                                                                Ramola D                               

 

(published in The Asian Pacific American Journal)

 

If I believed this world were canvas

stretched incandescent across the tint

 

and slur of earth, azure, the rich

absurdity of apricot a stain

 

on lucid skies, I would want, I think,

fruition, a flaring upward of light

 

at the center, a holding of lucence clear

above the visible. Like the corn

 

in Van Gogh's fields kept from conflagration

by that steady rising, a mere

 

breath above the stalks, the ears, a brush

of gold whittled to suspension there and yet,

 

withheld, a promise the painting cannot break.

Sometimes I think we wear ourselves

 

with wanting, the remnants of our gilt

dull asbestos, dark that settles

 

as dreg in the cups

of aster, gentian both wound

 

and invitation. Yet this is no

painting. We court the blackened world

 

as it is, those bitter grounds a kind

of center, a place from which

 

hands begin to form: out of the lack, out

of desire's end, a hand that shapes

 

a brush from death, pulls flesh to rawest stain

and paints the world, paints the world again.