Whose Blue

Everything to me is a jumble of shapes and colors. I want to make something that reminds you of this, but you don’t know where it comes from.—Ellsworth Kelly

Ellsworth Kelly’s color swipes:
shark fin, mainsail, axe, blade or fan.
The eye wants definition,
the mind chooses words.

turn the painting, your head
this way, that. Think of

my father’s last words:
Blue is such a lovely color,
his body tucked into sheets swimming with red and green fishes,
his hands running over them.
Think of

a job interview:
What is your favorite color?
Indigo, sunsets in Guatemala City,
hotel walls dabbed
with mosquitoes’ dried blood.  Of

Colette’s short story about Madame Angelier,
vaguely unhappy, going about the town
searching for a blue glass bracelet, recollected forms,
childhood wonder beyond dreams. Of

an Yves Klein postcard, how he and his friends
divided the world. The friends chose earth
and words, Klein ethereal space,
a monochrome exploration,
blue balloons, blue women, blue universe. Of

Miss Paley, high-school geometry teacher,
chop of steel-blue hair, gray New York City light
outside her window. See how
she draws shapes
on a slate board, explains SOHCAHTOA.

Indian princess, fleet rider in fringed buckskin.
Doesn’t it mean everything to you?

—Ronnie Hess