Black and White

In weeds behind Grandma’s roses

I discover a scrambled drawing,

a tangle of lines too distraught

to have been scribbled by a child.

The paper’s crisp as a dollar.

The scumble of fine black lines

drawn in the densest India ink


suggests the windswept hairdo

of a favorite movie star.

As I formulate that metaphor

the paper rustles in my grip

and the lines rearrange themselves

slightly, almost making a shape.

I try to discipline the mind


with tenets of freemasonry,

the Cartesian paradox,

the Aquinas proof that God

remembers all our birthdays.

Laid flat and smooth on my desk

the drawing heaves like a fever.

Tiny feet, a child’s patent shoes,


and slowly the hourglass

of a flimsy cotton dress dyed

cornflower blue. No color,

of course, only the outline

of a definite cornflower blue.

The child lacks arms and a head

so I leave, closing the blinds,


and let the geometry ripen

in the dim afternoon. At dusk

a storm crawls across the hills,

groaning and weeping, an effort

I respect. The drawing, I find,

has almost completed itself.

It smiles. I touch it. Lightning


sneers at the window. A hiss

of electrons passes from me

to the child and she rises

full-sized from the tiny page

and embraces me so thoroughly

the simple black-and-white of me

explodes the illusion of flesh.


words: William Doreski, New Hampshire (blog)
image: Molly Sutton Kiefer, Minnesota (blog & photos)


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