Sorrow is yellow
and smells of stale bread.
Maggie flings open the window
sifts clean air from fumes
turns back, eyes smarting
to face the painting. Sunlit
on its easel, it weeps --
colours slide down the canvas
one fat oil slick into another.
She chooses a brush, soft, sable, kind
too precious to use, but
necessary to stop the descent into ruin.
Too late. He's gone.
She only succeeds in leaving
a stray hair or two
which she picks at with paint-splattered fingernails.
Christ, what a mess.
Grabbing a rag
she rubs and she rubs until all that's left
is the cadmium yellow undercoat
that glares like a Gauguin.
Ah, lover. What have you done.
She strokes the canvas with trembling fingertips,
sniffs the lingering turpentine.