Crack the Spine - Issue 151

Page 20

Mary Julia Klimenko Tonight

I paint because I was not able to find the magenta you promised me if I loved you. The yellow bloom of orgasm was quick to fold back into itself like time into the center of a life I couldn’t open without you. I traveled in darkness to your house, entering through the back door, my hair shining with rosemary oil, my body rubbed pink ready to merge with your darkness. In your bedroom I saw blue in the air as if our breathing condensed into pure color and when I closed my eyes, the ochre and goldenrod of your touch made my breath quicken. My arms held your fury, “Green,” you said we were green and sometimes we were red, crimson deeper than snow like the high note from a steel guitar. I believed divine fire compelled you to stay with me forever. You said you didn’t mean to hurt me yet your betrayal extinguished the color of passion. Sorrow thundered, heaven was really hell; desperation drove me away from you. The abyss is the color of the inside of an abalone shell. In my studio tonight, I imagine you traveling colorless streets, like a wounded animal longing for the strength to pull itself toward the shelter of trees. I touched you, held you fast and deep; we opened together and merged. You were afraid, like the poet said, of “even an empty dress”. I open tubes of shiny paint, dipping my brush into cadmium red, yellow ochre, dioxazine purple, and quinacridone gold. I want to paint headless angels and bottomless pits, the apocalypse illustrated with burning fountains of water, winter the color of