NO.4 (1964)

by Beth Secor


There is impasse. Incompatibility. Incomparability. Gradations of taupe are

tearing a union. It is not all gray. Are we dealing with sensory limitation, are you

not seeing how brown warms or feeling purple’s steel? Is it a failure of language,

do you not have words?


The strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street. There is simply no word

for this in the southern Idaho dialect of my youth. I had rarely spared it thought

until I read of eastern Ohioans and their habit of calling it the ‘Devil’s Strip’. This

locution a little colorful for my taste, I settle on the beiger ‘parking strip’. Given

name, endowed place. Now I grow vegetables there.


We could hang our trouble on the method of delivery. Limits to the expanse of

digital existence. Flat. There are tellings, tales of layers so deep eyes touch velvet.

Radiance from a palate subdued and dark like matter so dense light shouldn’t

escape. This we do not.


Maybe best just to avoid. Each week when leaving my analyst’s office I am

bathed in Ochre and Red on Red. From a print poster marking an exhibition years

ago, hue so vibrant paper nor frame can contain, spills through space, fills air,

draws the sun’s warmth with its gravitational force. This is not that work.


Let us now put it away and take a walk. Under a blood moon the night sky

reflects cobalt translucence, still pool, dark blue glass and the moonbeams burn.


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