Portrait of Myself

Undergrowth with Two Figures
Undergrowth with Two Figures – Van Gogh

Two faceless figures stand in a wood. Yellow white flowers swallow our feet.

I awake, longing for the dream, to suckle it. The composition of shadow and color a beguiling perfection. Only there can figures be that cannot be. Only there can rootless trees fence us in. Only there can flowers sway from yellow to white to yellow with the breeze.

I listen for your breath in measured moments beside me. I long for your warmth. My suitcases where you put them by your closet, edges in a tidy line, whisper, “No.” Beside the bed I see your neat swirling handwriting on the note.

Please don’t make this harder for me.

Your Van Gogh print stares from across a room drained of color.

Before I pack, before I look through closets and dressers and cabinets for the bits and pieces, I will leave you a gift. A painting as yet untitled. A memento of a relationship even a cage of trees could not contain.

My arm is a brush. My hand soft camel hair stroked to a point. My torso a palette. I dip my hand into me, swirl color. Brown tones of entrails, a smudge of bilious green smeared with pale pink of skin, white of bone. The soft blue of my eyes. The bright crimson of heart.

The brush flies throughout the room returning color. Then, with a deft stroke, I erase the figures from the print leaving only trees, swaying yellow white flowers. And shadow.

On your pillow I paint a final image. A disconnected ear, to listen for your soft breath.



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