Eye level with brushstrokes,
tripping alarms—that close—
I study how mixtures of pigment
with oil, egg, water
arrive on canvas, wood, paper,
examine paintings that draw me near,
cast me back.
Color and shape impel me to detect how
Friedrich’s tiny, distant fire
punctuates its flames
with a single arc of two fine hairs;
and a thousand flaxen leaves
are positioned, one by one, as by God’s hand
for man to hold in awe. While Beckmann
pulls a thick brush down
in rectangular blocks, building
into being the side of his own face,
I parse through layers, searching
for origins of that shimmer
rising to a surface, making silk.
I enter a new room; Dürer
is there, ten steps away, staring at me—
across five-hundred years
an emanation from wood
courses through my flesh,
mind and body seized.
Paint—wielded by wand.