Painter

 

Blows smoke against canvas,
light blue ripples to edges
like he tossed in the tiniest stone.

Peels back horsehair, snaps the tip
before brushing his lips, slicing his cheek.
Jug of wine gone, roadside weeds

in India ink dots. Diluted blood,
watercolor sun. Hands stained red
after a long day on the moon.

Just like that, it’s done. Stands up,
leans back, looks over speckled frames,
asks the wife what she thinks.

Takes his pipe to the porch, pets the cat.
Heat lightning, a camera’s silent flash.
Wakes up wet, calls out to God.

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