A steely torn silver, rusted along the edges;
the faint acidic yellow, like the backwash
of a polluted pond; earth-spatter

and gold spot in blotchy shallows;
grays the purpling of drenched slate;
and a pooling crimson with the false

bonhomie of the maraschino cherry—
all that unnecessary life turning to tinder.
The shadows were fragile-fertile

beyond the shocks of grimy hay in a spent field.
The India-ink, closeted blacks—
why choose the easeful darks?

Not that anything lay hidden there.
Was it only the spilled-over, abandoned life
and, from the wastage, the broken buds?

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 29 Number 2, on page 26
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