…for Erica

Share a canvas and dirty brushes
cardboard palette with splats of summer’s oils
on your dad’s garage floor;
paint with smudged forearms burnt with July–
July that brings slow trains whistling through Monet
and van Gogh as bicycles in a flash of chrome speed to capture
a waiting track in milkweed
and leap into the boxcar hot with metal and engine oil
staining our hands that
rub flattened coins in our pockets, fresh off the tracks;
paint dots of dandelion and forgotten lilacs and lilies
and your mother’s Indian Paintbrush against painted blue fence–
all in bloom in our eyes, in love with the world in our teeth;
let’s race round on rickety tin with tanned skin
and skinned knees to another portrait we can dance in
along the shore of the cold lake below the muggy heat
and catch the wind in our blond hair and hold on to the train
with our matching rings, and, at thirteen, our secret handshake
and jump into a painting of speckled yellows, purples, reds, and greens
that will be all our own that we’ll frame in our hearts;
centuries later I can still see you and me when Spring starts to tease
and check my promise to follow whereever the paint may drip


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