Burnt Sienna

It appears I’ve always lived in raw umber
With just the right amount of jesso. The
Canvas of my life lying under the
Colours of a palette mixed just so. Each
Shade a version of grey – luxurious oodles
Of white changed by a tiny dab of black. I
Wonder at the palette knife smoothing it
Down, not too sharp, no need to hack and
Carve away the artificial bright. They say
It allows the painter to create the many
Shades of light. I get it, I think. Until the time
That we run out of umber and use burnt
Sienna instead. My sleeping skin has turned
Blue. It is dazzling, not like skin but wine.
Suddenly it looks like anyone’s arm but
Mine. Maybe I should have painted by
Numbers, stuck with bases of raw umbers,
Lived dumb and painted dumber. Anything
Rather than confront this blue skinned person –
My raw-umber life’s burnt sienna version.


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