The painting was death: self portrait of an artist at the top of a tall building looking to reach the sun on paper wings. I don’t think I told you that hope was the last to leave, but it has to be, the gray sickness fills your veins with cement until even the act of breathing is far too much work. I lost her, me, the girl with kaleidoscope hair and fingers that crashed syllables together. I held a brush with skeletal claws and painted the mirror reflection: empty space.
But there is a moment that is different, you have to wait for it, I think. The hollow-eyed men wait and wait and you have to snap, have to drag them out into open and throw the canvas down at your feet. It doesn’t matter what you paint, only that you’ve got to cure the plague, you’ve got to reach for whatever is left of you and pour it through your fingertips.
It’s like the sky, like the dawning and bursting and breathing of the universe, folding and unfolding itself beneath me, asking me to see how similar I am to beauty. The paint is a smear, a flower, a lover, an explosion too close to see and yet I am sure it is me.
I cry in the presence of hope, in front of the tacky surface that is proof that there is something inside me that is alive and pulsing and bright. That I am capable of great beauty no matter how time has wounded me. That if I bleed I can choose to do so in shades of roses so that someone may pick one and feel the beating of my heart into theirs.
-am kennedy, “Ineffable”