The boy dropped nude into the canvas pasture
has been given a steadfast mare for escort
into the foreground of a developing storm.
Some shared feature in the anatomies
of equine & adolescent set the painter’s hands to work
until he fashioned each face equal in demeanor
& until the fluid outlines of each figure’s form
conveyed youth’s symmetry.
In the end the mare remained unbridled
& unmounted by the boy,
& only the artist in his omnipotence knows
for certain whether the boy’s jaundiced skin
is equal to the unsown field beneath his feet
or if the tenor of the storm-cloud was made
equivalent to the mare’s smooth hide.
How long had they remained suspended headless
in his room before their countenances became
abruptly clearer by the silk sweep of his brush?
Was he painter in horse-suit, pretending to be wild,
unaccountable to the vulgar gods of his
the pre-teen’s pastel texture,
the myth abandoned to these makeshift effigies
of youth, stripped bare for future witness,
the boy, bold beyond his years,
sky the color of an untamed horse?
Stubborn little god that he is,
the painter returns to the canvas
over which he has dominion,
with each brushstroke, painting himself
a little further back into his childhood,
serenity in his gaze,
that first word still wet upon his lips:
The companion he leads into first light.
By Jamie Cooper