by Ruth Padel

He's gone. She can't believe it, can't go on. She's going to give up painting. So she paints Her final canvas, total-turn-off
Black. One long
Obsidian goodbye. A charcoal-burner's Smirnoff, The mirror of Loch Ness Reflecting the monster back to its own eye.
But something's wrong. Those mad Black-body particles don't sing Her story of despair, the steel and
Garnet spindle
Of the storm.
This black has everything its own sweet way, Where's the I'd-like-to-kill-You conflict? Try once more, but this time add
A curve to all that straight. And opposition White. She paints black first. A grindstone belly Hammering a smaller shape
Beneath a snake
Of in-betweening light. "I feel like this. I hope that you do, too, Black crater. Screw you. Kiss" And sees a voodoo flicker, where two worlds nearly touch
And miss. That flash, where white
Lets black get close, that dagger of not-quite contact,
Catspaw panic, quiver on the wheat
Field before thunder -
There. That's it. That's her own self, in paint, Splitting what she was from what she is. As if everything that separates, unites.

from Voodoo Shop (Chatto, 2002), copyright © Ruth Padel 2002, used by permission of the author and the publisher

Last updated May 02, 2015