Study in White¹

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

He said it was like floating in color
then stepped into the purple air,

                                   and we followed, you and I,
                                   our shoes wrapped in paper booties, our minds

                                   holding fast to the rules—

to not touch the walls, to not sit on the floor,
and take off your hat lest the shadows affect the appearance of light

                                                           dissolving into light,

                                                           and what is human instinct, really,
                                                           if not the desire to lose ourselves
                                                           to the liminal edges. There’s a

                       they guard the room—
                                                the man by the lip,
                                                the woman in her chair,

                                   each basking in blue so pure
                                   it makes the room weep—and trust me

                                                           when I say the guards aren’t there
                                                           for our own good.

This is not what we were expecting.
             These boundaries made so perfectly clear.
                       And yes, this is a poem about boundaries.

                       And whiteness,

                       and its desire to contain,
                       and how we become contained.

                                                           No wonder it always puts on such
                                                           a show.

1 “Study in White” was written in response to James Turrell’s Perfectly Clear.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020