All winter we managed.
I shunned the rum in the freezer
in favor of soy milk, Horchata, or coffee—
French pressed. I painted.
Black paint: night-jar in flight.
And red: its wide open gullet.
Hues of pink for unworldly starlings.
It only snowed twice, early.
Snow, the weave of canvas.
Outside: spiders, sparrows
and brick. Outside chomped
with wind, seasonal pastiche.
My paintings pulsed and he wanted
to see what I made.
The writer never stops taking stock.
The writer ponders parlance
like most check the weather,
palms up for flake after unique flake.
Winter yawns in the street garbage.
Halogen lamps and papasans.
I dish-soaped my brushes.
The stiff hairs silkened;
hues bled in the faucet, changed.
Your skin’s so soft, he said.
He wanted to see what I made,
asking: Ellis, Ellis, what is it?
I showed no one my oil dirge,
my rainbowed Potemkin village.
We were the kittens and the quilts
on days the air rushed in, cold.
The curtains danced and Gran slammed
the window shut, her nimbus blown.
We were the kisses and the quiches.
She called us a hobby-horse pair.
I guess we looked small and wild
but never really went anywhere.
Proud of Gramps, we took turns shrugging
his old kitbag on, fledgling
fingers tight on air shaped firearms.
What did we know of death? Nothing
but narcissus bloomed like hiccups
in the front yard and
we were the kingdoms and the questions.
Explorers of the yellow stairs,
the yellow brick road, a flight to unknown.
The landscape of home: spirals.
Melissa Watt has an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College.