A cat’s shadow crosses the road in front of me,
a mixture of violet, phthalo green, cadmium red, and a touch
of burnt sienna and yellow ochre, and I can still hear the crunch
of the brush as it mixes the colors together, the sweep of it soft against canvas.
My mother’s lungs turned that dark blue black when the cancer came back,
no longer the color of fresh bubble gum, but gum that a child has chewed
and trudged through grimy streets of the city for years, its toxicity
stuck to the bottom of her shoe.
By the time my mother found her cancer it was stage three.
Sounds like a theater production with unknown scenery, doesn’t it?
Like one that you could name and paint yourself, your baby, watch
it grow up to be something.
She used to crawl into my canopy of lavender and butterflies,
many nights we were pressed together, cocooned in my sheets,
stars above our heads, neon pressed into the ceiling, glowing
fireflies in a Ball jar on the nightstand, with holes poked in the top, for air.