LXXXIV | Something Grey

I’ve set up a new easel
by the window.

Sorted out a box of paints.

I make a new palette
(can’t find the other one).


I’ll paint Tammie’s
eyes right.

I start mixing
into grey paint.

The empty canvas

is now full of

wrong grey eyes.




What should I do?
I ask her.

I’m really sorry.

Tammie’s usual smile
doesn’t make sense to me.

She continues

tying knots
in my long hair.

I want her
to yell at me,

tell me how badly it hurt,
tell me I got what I deserve,

tell me it makes her feel better

to know
I suffered after that.

I want her

to blame me,
to scold me,

then tell me

what I can do

to make things
go back

to the way they were.


It’s all over.
We’re here now.


And that hurts

even more.




Tammie bounces up
to where I sit

by the window.

She puts her head
between the canvas
and mine.

Her eyes gleam

and I take this opportunity

to examine them
close up.

Note the way the sun lights them up.
Note the type of grey hues.
Note the colours that swirl like stars.


there are colours here

that haven’t been
discovered yet.


Fifi, aren’t you going to apologise today too?

I don’t get
the joke.

She giggles.

Then leaves abruptly,

almost as if

she’s angry
at me
for not getting it.

What is there to get?

I stare at her solemn retreat,


The gap
between us

is worse than I thought—

I can’t

get the colour
of her eyes right.


It’s grey.

Definitely grey.

I mix black and white
more furiously
than necessary.



until it becomes
her colour.

Will she like me then?

like me?


Can someone like me

even be liked?


The whole palette
is grey now

but the colour’s still wrong.

I throw my paintbrush
at the window,

giving up.

No matter what I add

not right.

I paint the rest of her face.

Maybe if I have
the rest of her,
it’ll become the right colour

after all.

I paint her portrait
          like I always do.

I paint her whole body,
          curled around her lover.

I paint her next to me
          the way I wish we could be. 



The canvas is full of Tammie now.

I start to notice
things I didn’t before.

Her bones stick out too much.

She has a different jawline.

Her breasts should be bigger than that.


I suck at painting.

I cry.

The grey acrylic stains
on the window—

Tammie’s wrong eyes—

watch me
with no feeling.



I’ll paint Tammie’s
eyes right.

What a joke!

What does “deeper grey”
look like


The smell of vomit and stomach acid
engulfs me.

Tammie’s bony arms

wrap around
my shoulders,

her head resting
on top of mine.

Her voice,
her apologetic smile,
her warmth

comforts me.

Why are you nice to me now?

If you aren’t going to forgive me,
then go away.


I can’t find it.

The grey colour
of your eyes.




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