Starry Night

by Savanah Burns

“In order to work and to become an artist one needs love. At least, one
who wants sentiment in his work must in the first place feel it himself, and live with
his heart.” —Vincent Van Gogh

I pull a coffee mug, a gift from a friend, out of the kitchen cabinet. The side of it reads: “What
would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” The yellow overwhelms my eyes like
the morning’s break of light. I pour a cup of joe, Van Gogh makes a face as the heat makes his
ear disappear. Staring at him I recall an elementary art class. The teachers had us paint our
canvases black. We didn’t know what it meant. Not yet. Then we worked on the landscape.
Leaving, coming, hellos and goodbyes. Stroke after stroke, twisting of the hand. Dig yourself a
hole, until it becomes a well. Not even your echoes will receive a hello. Goodbye. Coming. All
they’re doing is leaving. Everything won’t stop moving. Vigorous yellow halos caused by
temporal lobe epilepsy. The stars and moon can’t help their illumination, whether appreciated or
not. Those turbulent winds spinning one’s head. The sky was not my soul, but his. Dark midnight
blues tastes like absinthe. Did you know he chewed on the back of his brush? Taste of lead paint
chips. Blood soaked rags, razor dripped red, handprints left. He put on his dark, sun-charred hat,
walked down to the Maison de Tolerance, and said, “Guard this object carefully.” I wonder if
anyone ever cared to listen to Vincent before everything went black. My coffee is still mild,
though chill. Glancing down, Van Gogh’s bandage is no longer there. Behind him the painting of
a sun shines as brightly as his heart.

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