is what they called it,
as if yellow was no longer descriptive enough.
Mom and I were thickly spreading it over
the once-living room, soon-to-be-play room,
right-now-nothing. I wanted to be outside playing,
not painting a playroom I was too old to enjoy.
Alex should get out of his crib and help,
I thought as yellow dripped on my Converse.
The radio was on, but not even the oldies station.
Extra torture: NPR. Some old fart droning about
mountain’s ages. The Andes and Rockies young,
their sharp precipices aching to scratch out their names
in the puffy white clouds. The Appalachians and Urals old,
worn down, like an old man’s teeth after a lifetime
of the wind and rain grinding them while he slept.
My mom sighed, seeing the little yellow constellations
of sun-colored paint I’d dripped on the carpet,
leaving a field of sunflowers on the matted green threads.
She stood to get paint thinner in the garage,
moving slower than usual, clicking the screen door
shut gently, stepping softly on each individual step,
hardly even lifting her feet off the rocky concrete.
While she was gone, I painted my name subtly
in the corner opposite the bay window
with the handle of my brush, so one day I could
walk into the front yard of the house I’d once lived in,
and be able to look in, and see my place on the wall—
failing to foresee repaintings, two layers of wallpaper.
I rushed back to my spot as I heard my mom
shuffle slowly up the stairs, open the door, and slide in,
her feet creating a vacuum trail on the carpet,
grey strands fluttered in her champagne hair.
Above Yosemite Valley I Contemplate Our Fourteen Years
Love’s half-life is a spectrum.
For some, the first fight erodes
electrons from the bond
that a glance showed to be
an impenetrable lobe of bliss.
Others roll across calendars
crackless, hapless in scorn, &
worn halfless they’d be lost.
Decades after the parrots
gave up imitating the coos
of groups of divorcees in tune,
those few continue seamless,
their decay on another scale
like a bristlecone weathering
in a high field of dandelions.
Zebulon Huset is a teacher, writer and photographer living in San Diego. His writing has appeared in Thin Air, Meridian, The Southern Review, Fence, Rosebud, Atlanta Review & Texas Review among others. He publishes the writing blog Notebooking Daily (with new daily prompts) and edits the journal Coastal Shelf.