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Karen Skolfield

Rock Hall Harbor, Pencil and Acrylic, Unfinished    

The blue comes down this way, deliberate,
a light fractured by birds, clouds
on their way, the feel of far-off rain.

In the foreground a boat still in pencil.
The bones of it, the hull in pieces though
the curve’s there, a hatchmarked stern.

The artist put down his pencil, his brushes.
Walked away or died. Began seeing the desert
in things instead of the wet.

 Or considered it done, perhaps.
A horizon being built. A boat
in the reckoning. A scene

completed by the viewer’s mind,
our willingness to read over missing words,
create what is only suggestion.

I can’t remember which lover
I bought this for or how the painting
ended up with me. By now I’ve grown 

used to the forests changing around me,
the buildings razed, the rope swing gone.
The painting has survived every move,

every awkward swaddling, the time
in all those attics and how surprised I am
at each unveiling, finding something still undone.


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