Tuscan Red and Copenhagen Blue

I unearth the colored pencils

from a box buried among cobwebs

under the basement stairs.

Not blue, but indigo,

aquamarine, ultramarine;

not red, but scarlet,

crimson, carmine, magenta.

Brown, so boring

in my standard box of crayons,

fascinates as umber, sepia, sienna,

orómy favoriteóburnt ochre.

The rest of the afternoon,

an archeologist of color,

I explore the possibilities

of cerulean, viridian,

and even Chinese white.

Only after I hide the pencils

under the center of my mattress,

do I wonder where they came from.

Somehow I know they must

belong to my father,

perhaps when he was my age,

though I have never seen him

so much as doodle.

I fall asleep that night

on a bed of chartreuse and vermillion,

praying that I never abandon color

or learn to live in black and white.

Scott Wiggerman