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portraits of home

BY KATE WEXELL (staff writer)




[Banks of the Oise at Auvers, oil painting on canvas, 1863, Daubigny]





i’m trying to find home in the laced evergreens, leeches and lilypads

rocking back and forth in grandma’s river. clammy. mosquito

thick like irish whiskey and blackberry stains. finding

meaning in solitary reverence, wondering why the trunk

stands alone in the buoyant plains. lipizzaners go unnoticed.







[Landscape, oil on panel, 1842, Rousseau]








everything intoxicating is lonely. empty and heaven-ordained.

crespuclar pillars constructing a pantheon of portraits.

cathedrals of stone and grass. horseshoe lakes in the

meditation of the unknown.

i can’t see the truth in a state of routine.







[Loch Lomond, oil on canvas, Doré]







the celtic dreamed of prisoners taking the low road. my

strawberry inheritance has no homeland. souls flutter in ships and chickenpox.

we speak broken gaelic and no language at all.

deafened by ellis island and protestant chatter.

spikes are drawn through highland knees until they’re

forgotten beside one set of keys.







[Puppet, wooden sculpture, 1960s, unidentified Bamana artist]







red blood lands are stained with wars and horsemen.

i find my soulmate in the hare-sniffing ground and

hoofprints of wild mustangs. tiny. innocent.

wholly selfish creatures. never understanding the world outside.

unattainable children riding on chalky ponies. love and sunlight

pounding through bashful sunflowers; laughing;

dancing on horseback.








[Red Evening Sky, oil on canvas, 1915, Nolde]








the only home i’ve been certain of is my synesthetic sunsets.

grappling the broken porch swing. i can dangle my legs until i

reach the sun. hues from flame in milkweed and wild onion.

salmon and carnation affixed above clover. the nights laying under

white-hot paint speckles

bring me to the final question.








[Sedak in Search of the Waters of Oblivion, oil on canvas, 1812, Martin]









the universe is crumbled and distorted. stretched thin by the gas-guzzling

breeze and ochre reefs. jigsaw compasses point everywhere and i

keep searching. hop in the car with commandments holding me back.

let’s drive until my playlist runs out. sleep on caving hoods with

mozart’s operas airing out open windows.

we’re all dust and stars again.

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