The Underside of Colour
Chagall invites me to his house; he knows I love this painting
He leaves the front door open, I arrive early. Seated on the right side of the parlor,
locket in my palm, I wait
Chenille, nervous cat, emerald green tail, sits on the sill listening.
Shouts from the street are loud, one side of the window is open
Aromatic warm baguettes, clinking cups from the café below. Colours roar
across the sky
Swaths of vermillion, streaks of royal blue, icy white shafts illuminate
the sky, turning the Eiffel Tower shimmering white
The spire shares light with clusters of dollhouse-size dwellings
and wraps a beam around the right side of my head
Et voilà! We’re startled by the oncoming whoosh of Chagall’s parachute rushing toward
us, plummeting down toward his floral-back chair. He lands, offers absinthe
He’s happy, he’s sad. He had a vision of his parents descending—miniature black
horizontal figures floating head to head, bickering in joyful Yiddish
They stay with him everywhere, wave as he passes. They know how he loves Paris,
beautiful Bella, and why he paints his fish, fancy fiddlers, harlequin clowns
Behind buoyant colours, someone is saying Kaddish. Sadness seeps
from the city smoke stacks. We sip, melding into lament
Chenille jumps down, slinks to the kitchen, sniffing for herring. She knows
Chagall adores her, comes back to rub her neck up his trouser leg
He’s laughing, he’s sobbing. Fantasy and gravity counter-balance.
My two heads, two hearts weep with love and contradiction
Lee Woodman’s essays and poems have been published in Tiferet Journal, Zócalo Public Square, Grey Sparrow Press, The Ekphrastic Review, vox poetica and The New Guard Review. Lee is a longtime artist and media producer, whose radio and film awards include five CINEs, two NY International Film Blue Ribbons, and three Gracies from American Women in Radio and Television. She recently received an Individual Poetry Fellowship from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities for FY 2019. Her letter/poem, “Voices in the Void,” published in November 2018 in The New Guard Review Vol VII, has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
The Ekphrastic Review
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