Perhaps there is nothing unusual
about bistre and blush
or henna and umber ---
colors known but too seldom spoken;
there is no light like the light of the open eye.
To be the ruins of Carthage,
but for a small mote of color
that seeps and seeks
without will or reason,
for only a breath before it sinks
into the dusty bricks and wasted fields.
To have lived to have seen the carnage ---
the blood and the ash and the unforgiving salt;
this is where color can be born,
distinct before a withered universe.
That is how I know bistre from the fallow river,
how I can tell blush from a stale, dying sun.
Your color hides where only hope can know to look,
where only a soft thought can frame new wood and thatch,
a clean river, or an endless field of wheat.
To know this place is not without its pain,
but it is more tangible than my lost tundra,
more alive than my sensible music,
more infinite in a second
than my drifting sand can ever be.