Creative Writing

Time for art in the cosmos 
is very short,

A poem.

but I brought my colored pencils, sketched

what I saw, the rainbow embracing our world,

fading to fathomless dark. But only for an hour 

or so. Then, like a crimson kokoshnik, headdress

of old Mother Russia, the sun, once again, 

on the rise. That ecru wound like the backbone

of a Sauropod? The Grand Canyon. Skull

of a moose? The Great Lakes. Moscow, ember

of a dying fire. Liquid paint would bobble, float

out of reach; oil could damage the instruments.

With my pencils I sketched an azure Africa,

savannahs in flames, the Nile’s spider-web

meanderings, its verdant strip of green.

Often I only had time to take notes—

dark blue … there, washed out. Learned the color

of water depends on its depth, its floor, whether

the sea is choppy or calm. Freed of obstructions,

air and haze, reached a place of pure brightness,

unprecedented clarity. Came to view Earth

as a finite thing, atmosphere thinner

than the thinnest skin. I could stare for hours,

unable to look away, but strict arrangements

forced me back—pencils and sketchbook,

my solitary exuberance, stored for later use.