Sara Smollett

December 13, 1997

for her eighth birthday she receives a set of watercolors
and stares at them for a week
little ovals of pure color
the blue of a faraway ocean
calling to her
the green of wet morning grass
yellow so bright
she is sure that someone captured a piece of the sun
to give to her

she opens them carefully
smelling them absorbing their essence
gingerly dips the tip of a paintbrush
into the red
paintbrush meets canvas
they bleed into paper
absorbed by criss-crossing fibers and pulp
she watches in fascination
colors running together
vibrance muted into union

a mother a father a daughter
take shape
in front of a tall tree
with fiery leaves
the picture is saved
the paints put away

the box of paints has lost its brillance
colors mixed tainted
the light blue contains a streak of black
from a haphazardly placed paintbrush
you see what happens if you don't keep on top of things
her mother says
she vows to be more careful.