Monday, July 9, 2012

The Cleave of Color

by Nancy Chen Long
(originally published in the 2011 issue of Weave Magazine)

puce. i know that
it’s a little like purple, or similar kind of
color. a little boy once said
it to me
when we get older,
—we were coloring—
our petals blanched
in a field of bluebells
—our ancestors chanting in our memory
under the beam of a chestnut tree:
we are all one, child.
i, who had drawn a cart-wheeling girl,
preferring to be insular,
i didn’t want to color her.
humans graft color with artifice and so
i wanted her to be white.
what is real seems real if some other says it is.
there is no white
washing our imperfections,
silly, the boy said to me.
intellect may say we are vapor, while experience says
but you are
to stay the course, even though nothing can be seen except
flecks against a foreboding sky. stay the course,
i said
even if happiness should look like a point, even if
looking at his timberwolf
skin betrays the truth. what can be said about the
eyes and tumbleweed
dispersions of words, chaos and form—they are
shadows. he shook his head. no one is
ad infinitum—
white. i am peach, and
our options being finite, then
you are maize. to prove it,
let us broaden our palette—
he raised the crayon to my skin
in order to honor the original—
and the color disappeared against me.
yes, this is so like a dream. and so
i gasped. he did not know
there is no cold, there is only distance from the sun. change
the rules. let’s race, i said. i’ll race you to
the boundary of
the purple house.
what is considered home,
he said, but
those many rooms in one mansion, spinning,
hurling through space. this picture
makes no sense
—a single stone in a galaxy of stones—
and besides, it’s not
the only thing that matters. the flash of
purple, it’s puce.
form is flesh, the imprint of color.
to prove it, he searched
through archives of memory,
where we once danced to some familiar chant
trying to find it.
—still, it hums, ambient, steadfast.

No comments:

Post a Comment

If your comment doesn't appear right away, it's because it's awaiting approval: To reduce spam, all comments to posts that were created over a month ago are reviewed first before being displayed.