How We Found the Last Color

I’ve never found anything that was really blue.
I drew a black-inked bluebird on top of a blue watercolor box.

Glacier ice looks blue if it is old enough.
One day you’ll wake up and your ice will be gone.
It means you’ll have raised up another inch.
The top of your hand is like a lake
Where someone wants to sleep.
It means last year was more blue than this year.
You get the feeling last Friday was more yellow.
What color is a plum anywhere?
For this next one I’ll use charcoal and a paper tortillon.
I’ll draw a sleep plant and leave off the shadows.
I’ll leave off the sleep plant as well,
Which has glossy thick leaves like a candle
And is hard to draw.
When I close my eyes, I can imagine
that we’ve solved it once and for all.
It has been a beautiful day to be a lonely thing in the world.


Volume 12.1 - June 2019

Kelly Caldwell works and writes at Washington University in St. Louis. Her writing appears in Fence, The Seneca Review, Phoebe, Small Po[r]tions, Entropy, PopMatters, MAKE Magazine, Slant, Pacific Standard Magazine, The Rumpus, and VICE, among others. She is the winner of an Academy of American Poets University Prize and the 2019 Greg Grummer Prize, judged by Jos Charles. She is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Spectacle.