by Diana Gordon
After Cloud Nebulae, oil on canvas by Claudia Sperry
Fingerprints smeared through rivers of raw umber, like tedders through a hayfield. Humid.
I see, like turtles and dogs in clouds—smog from a distant metropolis sweating on sweet grass. A clawed canvas, marks wanting in, paint under nails
wanting into the divets of rough weave, wanting something not yet visible, guarded by a family of ghosts. Huddled.
I see rust under an August sun. Hay shining far from the sea.
The ghosts squeezing out of hedgerows, aching for what ghosts ache for.
In the real world, a grasshopper creeps on a wicker tabletop. Each leg deliberate, the hindmost
raspberry red, backlit by sun. A canopy of oak leaves. Undulate.
The insect can’t perceive the reality of me, too huge, too near, nor my kiln-fired mug as it tiptoes by, its great eyes useless if I were the sort to squash grasshoppers.
This is all. Oil paint, mineral tint, a field. Rust, hay, sea, longing. Clouds. One grasshopper,
petticoat wings tucked, walking on wicker.