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.