by Sara Beck
I Draw, She Colors
I draw, she colors.
We’re a team that way.
She tells me my hands and faces are just ok, and I say,
“Did you know dance is not all ballet?
There’s salsa and modern and you’d love flamenco
with rainbow skirts and strappy shoes
and guitars that dance too.
Who knew?” And she says,
“Mama, will you draw me a queen?
And pass me the green
and you can have have purple
but just ’til I need it again, ok?”
And she looks up and smiles
and while I’ve been trying to teach her what I know
she’s grown somehow,
like a weed in the sun. Unstoppable.
And I’m undone with love and the desperate wanting
to water her and keep her safe
from those who cannot see
of a weed.
And she must need me for something
I’m sure but it’s not coloring or words she can find in a book,
so I look back at her and I hand her the green
and I draw my Magnolia a queen.
Glorious. Sturdy. Green.
How can it be that a tree
is the most celebrated form?
Glorious, sturdy, green.
When behind every dumpster
there are small, stunning peculiarities
in shades of forgotten ochre and garish magenta,
flowers of the wild, uninhibited
in their dismal, dusty surroundings
unashamed by their modest circumstances
unaware that the world may dismiss them.
They simply grow
because that is what they do
and so it is that I know
that the song I have yet to hear
because the writer who heard the tune in his head
was busy building a shed
from brick and mortar when the melody assailed him
is not a smaller song
or a less significant song
I long for that song
even as I sit in the shade of a glorious tree.
Surrounded by structurally sound popular music,
I long to be taken
by surprise, my eyes forced open by art.
It is a yearning forged in a forgotten memory of ochre,
fed by a preponderance
About the photographer: Anna Sorensen is an ESL teacher who lives in greater Philadelphia. She loves to dance, bake cinnamon rolls, and spend time with family. After recently graduating from George Washington University with a degree in Spanish and Gender Studies, she lived in Santiago, Chile, and hopes to return soon.