Saturday, July 09, 2016


"Portrait of an African Slave Woman,"
attributed to Annibale Carracci, fragment
of a larger painting, ca. 1580s

The darkest part of the shadow cast by a
celestial body, and a root for umber, the
color of earth, of melanin-blessed skin. A
blessing, I call this, despite how we curse
it in each other or ourselves. Without the
cooling shade, we’d burn. Without earth-
dark pigment, we’d have no ground for a
painting; Carracci knew this in his bones.
So I’ll plant myself in darkness—spotted
as a trout bean, pale as a moon—hoping
to grow strong enough to see my shadow
when it occludes what’s otherwise clear:
a shared reflection in an obsidian mirror.

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