Journal of Writing & Environment



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.