An ekphrastic poem, inspired by Lu De’an’s painting The Great Return—Lao Zi.
You know, the word ‘demolition’
fails to convey the full extent of the wreckage—
cyclonic swirls, gouges in the pavement
scars left by flames burning hotter
than imagination is capable of rendering
Is crossing it all out and starting over an option?
Are you sure it’s not just over-caffeinated fantasy
churning up all those things you’ve been trying to forget?
Some scratches take longer to heal
especially the ones you keep picking at
At this rate, you’ll never clear away all the blood
or put things back the way they used to be
Those stray lines are going to show
no matter how much you paint over them
Yet here you are, trying to make me laugh—
how do you do that?
(30 September 2016—edited October 1st)