by A.M. Broadous
October 2021

    after The Anguished Man by
   unknown artist (oil and blood
   on canvas)

My eyes open, I discovered a vision;
my veins open, I discovered a new kind of paint I’ll
use to exist in the hands of your care.
Some art imitates life while mine flows with it.
Do you understand I’m keeping myself alive by
     finishing this?
A dab of linseed oil—the earthy smell I breathe 
as the raw tissues take shape,
as my shoulders broaden and all the horrors hide in 
the shadow of my neck.
Red stroke. Blue stroke. Black stroke. Red stroke.
All this done with dexterity that surprises even me, 
     one brush, one knife,
a masterpiece come to take over.
Beyond my loft’s window, a night wrapped in silver stars.
In here, red prevails, forms a scream with no sound, 
     but the message is clear. If I can’t love you, 
                                                         I’ll haunt you.