Drawing Lesson


(For my art teacher Norman Chow)

a boxed landscape is presented
to you on an eighth of a page of
your yasaka sketchpad.

today marks your sixth lesson.
the teacher’s instruction:
enlarge the landscape
on the rest of the page.

your grip on a chunk of oil pastel
is unsure
you stare at a representation of the sun,
feel its rays, violent in yellow orange,
as they singe your lashes,

you hear the rattle of bones beneath
the grass
you watch a spectral
mist coil like a cobra around
the trunks of hapless trees.

in the heaving distance
blackbirds caw
a dirge of warning:

stop romancing the mountain
reduce the drippy sentiment that
has chained you to summers past
of cousinly camaraderie.

true those companions
have since scattered
east west south north
of the american continent

what’s left is this rectangle
& inside it are a sunny orb
a horizon broken by hills
foregrounded by grass fading

fading fast like your now
infrequent dreams of mountains.


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