After 'Painting the Gate' by May Swenson
by Phil Kirby

First I painted the lawn grass green
stippled with sand yellow,
to cover where I'd mown too short
and left the sun
to dry and kill almost everything -
which, to be honest,
was almost everywhere.

Next, on the fence,
which I’d washed with woody brown –
I painted beautiful flowers, tromp lois style;
you could almost pick them,
almost smell their sweetness.
Above the fence a glorious sky,
so fine it was hardly blue,
so deep it could not be fathomed;
and a rain cloud I painted - just one -
to show that, though my picture
was doing its best to make it so,
all was not perfect with the world.

Then I painted our house
to look like no other house ever did
extravagant with comforts and space,
then you at the door, smiling like you used to,
me knowing you were about to laugh
at the way I'd splashed about,
drawn this strange world
in which we’d never walk.

And last, I painted yet another me,
dreaming - as I always do -
of stepping through the picture
and setting off to who knows where.

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