Among the Shadows

I love shadowy spaces. Light is always babbling on about everything, drawing out and covering every last detail in the universe. Dark is a penetrating, introspective silence. When the two come together in shadow, it’s as though light expands dark; dark breaks light’s rambling into intelligible sentences; and suddenly a voice begins to speak in the space. A story is born. 

I painted Wormwood for a shadowy space. This is the birth of the story:

Weathered frame on a junk pile,
Laced in spiders’ webs,
Destined for a landfill.

There are marks on its side.
Secret panel with hinges?
In a library, perhaps,
Or monastery?

No, a door.
Solid wood
Where trees are scarce.

Beautiful wood.
Chips of paint
And graying timber—
The kind that crumbles
And rots.

I sand away the crumbs,
Disturbing the worms
That crawl from its holes.
Sad; they are losing their home.
And angering.

How could the reverent neglect such a wood
In a place where wood is scarce?

How to explain the careless?
Ignorant.
Despairing?
Dead?

The lament read at funerals:
“The thought of my homeless poverty
is wormwood and gall,”
Elevated in the recesses of grief,
Set apart and made holy.

An icon.

On rotting wood once the home of worms.
Is this clastic or philic?

Jasna Gora, Czstochowa:
Struck by an arrow,
Two blows from the sword.
Bejeweled and beloved.

Rebellious, Resilient.
A roadmap for the dead.

Olive, dark, and burnt sienna.
Corpse enlivened by yellow,
Red and gold.

So much impractical gold
For a broken door.

Or is she an icon?

Painted on rotting wood once the home of worms,
Pointing to…
Scars?

Does a woman reside here?
Does a question?
A dare:
What do you see?
Which would you save?
(Does woman need saving?)
The icon? The door?

-Wormwood