COLOR THEORY

AMANDA STOVICEK

 
 

I

Viridian is a blue-green pigment. On the color wheel
she leans more green, spring but darker. Everyone wants
 
to hold Viridian like the new baby she is, but no one can
handle her shape. Like a cloud, or fog on mountain roads,
 
Viridian takes to the world in the evening and spreads out
her hands. She has ten fingers that lick seashores and conjure
 
their hue in perfect precision. Her color takes you over. Her color
braids storm warnings to the sky and ignites the organic. Viridian
 
breathes algae and moss and pixie lichen. She is the scuttle
of rash on your arm, the eyes appearing under dark eaves
 
in the shadows of the old houses. Viridian marries the barren
hills in machine elegance and leafed-lace. She is not a snow-white
 
flag but the sleek barrel of a new-growth gun. Viridian holds
her Kudzu clip to the ground and does not misfire.
 
 
II
 
Umber contains the rust of the world.
He is dark and falls below the light
 
of ochre and sienna. Umber can be raw
and cold against the body. No one wants to lie
 
in his arms or let him tuck us in. Umber is
bigger than us because Umber is the crust.
 
A deep sigh of color that carries
leaves along street gutters.
 
 
III
 
Falu rides color, burns the skin
like a flame licking palms
and fingertips even as its winched
 
from the earth. Born in a mine,
Falu breaks through like an earthquake,
a shifting of tectonics turned
 
seeping and bloody. A split lip,
fractured jaw and blood
around the edges of teeth,
 
Falu can be beautiful in his collapse.
Remember that barn?
Painted with the Ohio Bicentennial?
 
He was painted in Falu, too.
The strokes of the farmer’s brush
coating old wood and making it new.
 
Now when you drive past,
the roof’s fallen in, and the deep
red fades back to dirt.
 
 
IV
 
Amaranth is as light
as the wings
of a hummingbird.
Her skin is sheer
and quick-coated in luster.
She wanted to be a pearl
in her past life, but can only
manage the aura of color,
the chiffon of being. Amaranth
can be wicked, like the sweetness
of a rose that gives way
to the thorns. She courts
all the travellers
with her song
and swings them into the ditches
to admire how starkly different
she is from the mud.
Amaranth climbs mountains
during rainstorms
to shout a new color
when the sun comes out.

 
 

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