Monday, June 14, 2010


Hugging her I remembered the apple orchards of my childhood. It was she who made the fat, round apples hang on the blurry trees with her broad, flat brush and a springy knife that laid the soft, glistening colors on and scratched into them.

The smell of turpentine was more familiar to me than apples, as familiar to me as the smell of my brother's head or the sound of blue jays bragging in the tall tulip trees.

She owned the sunniest places in the house. She hummed while she worked with her untouchable bottles and tubes. Turpentine greeting me at the door meant she was floating in happy distraction.

I was invited to lie on the floor with my own colors—colors that had their own delicious smell. Curious, each had the same smell, although the colors were different. I could make a house and a path, cut the path into the paper, and have a little person pay a visit, walking right through the apple orchard and knocking at the front door. Or I could draw a mountain with a train climbing it, cut a track into the paper, CH-ch-ch-ch, CH-ch-ch-ch.

Now, her shoulders are frail as I hug her, and no matter what I do, the apples, the orchard, the train remain outside of me, flat objects, but then, surrounded by light and oils and her humming, I could hear the knock on the door, feel the pull of the train, taste the apples.

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