My Six-Year-Old Niece’s Year-End Artwork
Not exactly Bruegel’s Winter Landscape, but the over-all picture is winter’s
night, taken from the paper itself,
the black-coated kind she had to scrape hard to get this far,
scratching first at the bottom to make grass:
a red tree topped with a red star sprouts
a black tulip
a green tree, topped with an angel.
There, the story of her year.
the death of her mother Dawn in April
and this Christmas.
A yellow rabbit leaps out and away, maybe
in flight from the fox we saw Christmas Eve, or maybe
she’s remembering The Runaway Bunny.
She added much more as she found
so much space left to be filled. A huge orange bird
above the rabbit,
under a puffy cloud that’s unscratched, so
filled with darkness, and beside it,
a jagged cloud, filled
with two names: hers, Bessana, and Beth, her new mother.
Three stars shine,
the largest, purple trailing red, poured into the scene, about to land
cataclysmically on Beth.
In the upper right corner above it all, the waning moon hangs blue.
No sun shines in this drawing yet brightness streams from all sides.
Heaven and earth called to witness, and they do:
the artist, like Bruegel, is concerned with it all,
that Dawn has died, that the world is held in light
Bess makes, raking away at the darkness with her smudged nails.