Fiction   Essays   Poetry  The Ten On Baseball Chapbooks In Memory

Laura Sobbott Ross

Van Gogh

After all it was Vincent’s brother
who bought him the paint—
pigment curled
like oily, fat caterpillars
in cocoons of tin,
sketchbooks yawning
into white wings.

Despair was a language
between them.

One brother spoke
in brushstrokes combing cornfields,
vineyards and olive trees,
so many gaunt mirrored faces,
while the second brother
could not get the color of it
out of his head, like a chant—
those sunflowers, those haloed stars,
those purpled tongues of iris, pleading.

Love and madness.
A stippled edge—a hue
on the opposite edge of a wheel
that brings out the other’s essence
when rendered side by side.

A neighbor once said
she could hear Vincent
crying all night long.
Was it the lead paint,
the absinthe, the canvas walls
he hovelled and howled behind?

Surely his brother heard, too,
felt the keening in his own blood—
the way he tore open
each weighted envelope
that came from Vincent
with his paper cut fingertips,
to unfold a whole heart
in the same damp rudiments
of indelible red.

©2008 by Laura Sobbott Ross

Laura Sobbott Ross is a freelance architectural designer. She was nominated for a 2007 Pushcart Prize, and has poetry in or forthcoming in The Columbia Review, Tar River Poetry, The Sow's Ear Poetry Review, New Millennium Writings, The Arkansas Review, The White Pelican Review, Kalliope, The Caribbean Writer, and Cutthroat, A Journal of the Arts, among others. She placed first for poetry in the 2006 Mount Dora, Florida Literary Festival and the Great Blue Beacon.

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