by Jane Scheiber



Something in the wind today
makes me so weepy. Maybe the clementine light of the sun, 
or the dead quiet of stained glass. I can’t stop crying. 

While writing about Agnes Martin, I kept glancing up 
at the photo of my father in 1969,
his small hands collected in the valley of his legs, 
all the similarities to my brother and I 
that I can never find the words for.

My mom told me on the phone that in first grade, 
my father didn’t quite understand easels 
and instead of painting crude colonial homes, 
he coated the page in broad red strokes, 
like a fence, or the side of a house.
And I remembered
from earlier phone calls, that my dad 
referred to his mother as a 
wire monkey mother. 

Today I walked everywhere alone. 
I passed Black Rabbit bar, the church and its great red steeple,
the water tower. I wanted to cry the whole time, 
watching swaths of swallows undulate in the blue afternoon, 
and I didn’t want anyone.

My dad called his brushwork red grass.

What would he have painted
if someone had brushed his hair and held him? 
These swallows, that window, a sunflower?

At the western edge of Long Island, 
the river reddens.


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