by Khadijah Queen
Les Chartrons, December 2021, after dg nanouk okpik
This horizon’s dawn line makes me curious
enough to wonder if artist-I
could actually exist
sans worry, duty, pain—
Today’s-I makes breakfast for loves—
sweet greens & blackberries, smoked salmon
& sliced baguettes, salted butter & peach jam,
coffee with cardamom & cloves—luxurious
& a never-tiresome river view feast as today’s-I
tidies both table & borrowed kitchen. Loses track
imagining an otherself tracing soft
colors to capture, another life making
mistakes in water media, trapped in practice,
cutting paper the texture of bark, silk,
giddy with ease & industry. In that living
dream I summon the reserve I keep warm
that keeps me warm, fighting
the freeze that’s stalked me since
I first tried to burn myself down.
Refusing what’s aged my insides,
I write down shades to collect—
zaffre, an almost azure, celestial; count prismic
light particles in instant waves, soothing
bitter memories a continent past to lilac
as ships bevel the river surface,
as if holding boldness as quiet—steady.
Today’s-I watches until late fog
makes moonrise over the Garonne lift
light from its own reflection. I pay
specialists to fix me. They can’t.
Somehow I don’t give up.