Inside the small room, the artist slices
dried teabags apart. Drained
of spices and leaves, they flatten
to margins, dimensions and sections.
To get to her studio, I drove past a field
of dried sunflower, a double row
of cottonwoods no longer glistening,
and a pile of bricks in the bed of a truck.
She spreads the bags in segmented color:
consecutive, gently inaccurate.
She tethers to canvas.
On the radio, a Dobro puts sounds in order
with slow plucking and flicking.
This morning, the sky is milky.
Clouds roll up old adobes
to the base of the mountain, infuse into sky.
Her simple concentration is a sampler
of strangers’ habits and private attentions.
Cranberry herbal and chai,
English Breakfast and jasmine. Not much extra,
just pouches and leftover particles
in the hands of a woman who finds the flaws
beautiful: brushed with India ink,
brayered with gold, or left alone.
Those trickling colors steep through
the rest of my day.
At a traffic light, a man
enters the crosswalk in a gray beret.
In the parking lot of the grocery store,
I step on leaves strewn between car wheels:
the helpless conclusion
of autumn, its remnants and harvest.