He never saw it coming.
It was just that the air changed.
Chrysanthemums, three, in orange
with blue leaves, fading, falling,
and he remembered: "mums," she called them mums.

He almost fell inside, looking close;
between long white petals, delicate stamens.
The detail overwhelming, and the air:
changed. He saw the leaves
as if for the first time.

He hadn't worked this medium
for many months. The greens and slate
grey, the air: his own now. Smudges
and fingertip blends -- he was disappearing.
Chalk dust (or was it pastel?) on his fingers.

From this close he began to lose individuality.
He missed it -- but no one must know that.
Was he going too far? The memories came back
and he knew they weren't his own:
the itch of the pollen, a slow straining of roots;
I have, it turns out, been depending on her all along.

I can't see well from here.
Leaves blown through bay windows,
swirling. This concentration just too much.
Iron teapot grown cold on rosewood
table and not enough written.
The morning almost gone.

Cypress: climbing, growing thick
up the mountainside, and fog, yes,
even this time of year.
Warm rocks -- if you look at them right. I,
I just can't see in this air. Changed:
they cool off, turning grey.

I guess I'll finish this painting next week.

October 27, 1992

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