Wheat Field With a Lark, Vincent Willem van Gogh
Helene Müller’s wealth allows her to purchase Van Gogh’s Wheat Field With a Lark. Somehow, she fancies its beauty may salve and sooth malcontent. But she doesn’t foresee that the darker oils buried deep beneath the brilliance are damp and pasty, opaque with doom.
As an artist herself, our ginger-haired Ena from Kansas has never been enchanted by the piece until now. Her life is magical, orphaned of the sorrow, her hues so blessed, or so it seems.
Our lovely Ena is well loved, living in a dream. Her husband and all her family dotes on her. As do her nest of children, as vulnerable as baby Robin’s mouths.
Her strong mother, who taught her to sew her first dress, protest war and to reclaim her delicates, is always there with advice. Her father, whom she adores, is her tall oak. Her sister hens, cry with her, even Aine and Caoimhe, who have nothing in common with eggs. Garragh is everything, their love a pirate ship in the deep waters of lust and goodness.
Simply said, having her third child changes everything. Her mirrors gossip and lie, make her wear grief inside out, like a glum winter shawl. All her lovely sundresses rattle dead corn husks as she walks.
Ena’s sister Aibrean, her favourite, watches her children, and then it’s off to the Netherlands. Her family worries like rosary beads. A week later, she returns, in high spirits. All the supportive ask, “Where were you?” She answers, “at the Museum.”
It is early fall, and Kansas dons its gild of harvest. Cheerful Ena, determined now inspired paints chooses to paint once again. Though her skies fill with Kansas crows, absent lark, she gathers palette, oils, and canvas from under prairie dust her attic. Methodically, she moves all to her new sunroom, built with love by her husband, whose patient, with five thousand acres of fields in the waiting. Ena’s view is a sea of uneasy platinum.
For days and nights, Ena labours the spoils of her wheat field, one canvas after another. It has to be just right. She focuses on her life, her endless horizon, all through her sunroom window panes. But the sunlight seems too bright. Notwithstanding, she completes her painting. She proudly hangs it with a proper hook on her studio wall. Its stunning summer gold, blue sky and white clouds flecked with gathering crow. She can almost hear them crackle, guiro and click like the back porch screen door hinge that needs oiling.
In a dither, one early September morning, in a fever, she rises to fetch her palette of shadows and paints in the dark to coerce her wheat field perfect. She brushes once white billowy clouds into charcoal, then paints her golden wheat field with new colours named flawed and drab. She adds a fringe of moon, as wild as a native rabbit. Ena exults. Her work is now complete. All her skies hang feral black, full of raspy caws.
Dan has a MS Degree in Education from UC, Sacramento, Calif. He is the author of four poetry Chapbooks, and a new book of fiction, Second Stories. Recent Credits: 101 Words, Adelaide, Chaleur, Chiron, Cleaver, Confluence, Dissections, Door=Jar, Drabble, Entropy, Esthetic Apostle, Fiction Pool, Foxglove, Frogmore, UK, High Shelf Press, New Flash Fiction Review, Riggwelter, Rue Scribe, Runcible Spoon, Skylight 47, Spelk, Spillwords, Stray Branch, Urban Arts, Zen Space, Tulpa, White Wall Review and Zeroflash.
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