Marking height on the concrete pillar in pencil and blue
pen every year, father pushing his hand on top
of flyaway hair so that we wouldn’t cheat. brother excited
the first time we were the same height, shorty mcshort shorts,
will you play cards with me? Once I bent and scribbled over
the joker in orange crayon so it was not a secret anymore.
mother shuffles the cards and lays them all face
down after dinner. The brilliant orange next to his window
by the Charles. In his office, father has a life-size print
of Rothko’s Orange and Yellow, boxes of yellow & orange
set against an outline of pale tangerine. I could vanish
into the depths of summer. Tangier, we always wanted
to go to Tangier, and the intense happiness was laced
with something tart. Independently I taped the same
painting above my bed in college, maybe forgetting
I had seen it before: I am so glad we have the same taste!
The Charles, green spangled with autumn, splayed on its side
with garden sparrows, father facing red leaves, the wreckage of birds.
Once I went to the Hilma af Klint exhibit at the Guggenheim.
Conch, clover, balls of thread unfurled, waiting for the Fates.
In dusk tones, I saw the spirits communicate with those who believe.
They offered her a commission: Paint for the temple.
I envy those who exist at the edge of consciousness,
conversing freely, generously with the beyond they don’t control.
How did the spirits pay her? father said, looking up
from his article. Gullible artists didz, said brother
wrapped in an armchair by the pillar. I was laughing,
same as when I heard that the new Barbie movie
is about a Barbie who gets kicked out of Barbieland
for not conforming to the notions of a doll, but finds
herself anyway. Opal and tourmaline skin light hot pink.
Barbie gets a New Age story, father would have chortled.
Jumping on the bandwagon! But the couch is white
and silent at five and mother and brother are out.