• The Anatomy of Color

    Kelsey Ann Kerr

    Spring 2018

    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.

    Kelsey Ann Kerr teaches at the University of Maryland and American University, and holds an MFA from the University of Maryland. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in Stirring, New Delta Review, Mezzo Cammin, Cleaver, Atlanta Review, and elsewhere. Her poetry has been nominated for Best of the Net 2017.

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