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No matter how
many coats of paint
I paint the past
it’s passed, the point
of paint, of course,
to beautify, protect,
to cover and reflect
what otherwise I might
reject for being plain,
unvarnished, bare…
bare like branches in
late fall, bare like
weathered sheds
and truth—egad,
no, not the truth!

And when I paint
to cover, glossing over
bumps and flaws, I call
them out, though not
to play, there is no fun
in imperfection—can
there be?

And in my fear
that you might see
the curvatures of life
as she displays herself
with some magnificence
through me, I’ll focus
on your semi-nakedness,
the neither-here-nor-there
of you that is the me, stuck
in the past, reflected, and
I’ll point them out quite
helpfully—just there, a little
flaw. Hold still, I have
the perfect paint.


© Elaine Stirling, 2013