West Wind, by Norah Brady
She’s a smudge, although she doesn’t know it; doesn’t see enough of her surroundings to know she blends in to them: sage and brush brown, her skin obscured, eyes dim from the cold. If she knew, she would paint herself red in heather berries, soak her clothes in mulberry dye, dip her arms in up to the elbow before she went out into the world on the edge of a storm. She doesn’t know. Why would she need to be seen?
It’s the height that she doesn’t understand, the rain only baffles her as it comes on sideways and sharp. And the purple above the cloudline twists her stomach, so she doesn’t look up. She would worship older gods if it weren’t too late. She would become them in one motion, like the grasses and the buffeted flaps of her clothing. She would become. If only she knew how to.
A woman carries a basket of berries across the heather, looking out at the roaring maw of the sky in apprehension. She must remind me of cave drawings, the way I am drawn to her, sculptures that were brown-wood and womanhood, carved by men in their free time, unaware that years later it would be art, and they would be artists; years later and the sepia of her common dress (and arm and hat and basket) would remind me of them. That their art had become self-aware.
She would bleed into the sky if I let her, her pigment twisted by wind shown only by brushstrokes, her definition lost, her gale-swept outline now infinite, growing. Become cloud, become rain, become wind, become the colors of the heavens before a storm: purple, grey, sepia.
Does she know she’s on the edge of the world? Does she know that the sky might be white or blue or midnight green somewhere else? Like when yesterday on the bus I complained about the darkness of early afternoon in winter, and Sarah told me all the places it was early morning at that exact moment, which helped. Therapy is imagining the theoretical and accepting it as reality. Therapy is standing in the sun on purpose, or searching out all the non-existent colours in the sky, or looking at brushstrokes that trick the mind into imagining the concept of wind.
Norah Brady is a fifteen year old poet, actor, and wanna-be author. She’s most at home anywhere she can write, preferably with two cats and quite a few books. You can find her work in Rookie magazine, The Blue Marble Review, and Write the World’s 2017 collection: Young Voices Across the Globe.
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