How would I paint suffering?
I’d choose a palette infused with browns and reds.
I’d squeeze onions to wet the watercolors,
warpaint under my eyes to battle with the canvas.
I’d paint with acrylics in an airtight closet
and one fifteen-watt incandescent bulb.
No smiling scratch-n-sniff.
No fruity tones.
I’d lick the spongy tips to moisten them,
the venom of pepper-vinegar affixed to my tongue.
I’d whip bold, plucky, cutting strokes,
hurrying to finish and flip to the other side.
I’d not use paint at all, but spread gritty chalks on a new, black board,
screeching as they give themselves to the art.
I’d look away, toward the finished image of perfection,
the box-top of a jigsaw puzzle.
I’d finger-paint, boiling the colors to singe my fingertips,
adding blood to the red
and body to the brown.
Then I’d hammer nails in its hands and hang it high for all to see,
the beauty redeeming the pain.