I Wanted to Be a Painter by Leslie Schultz

I Wanted to Be a Painter

And I still do.
I picture lying down
to soak up malachite
and vermillion
through my pink skin,
rubbing my face with wild
persimmon and aubergine,
then washing myself clean
with icy aquamarine.

I’ve tried. It’s true.
See from these twisted,
empty tubes just what
I cannot do.

So I retreat now into
bone-pale paper-birch strips,
add marks in reed-strokes
of midnight tone,
all hushed, mute,
each line one sharp-edged
Scandinavian hue.


Leslie Schultz (Northfield, Minnesota) has three collections of poetry, Still Life with Poppies: Elegies; Cloud Song; and Concertina (Kelsay Books, 2016, 2017, 2019) and a chapbook, Larks at Sunrise: Light-hearted Poems for Dark Times (Green Gingko Press, 2021). Her poetry is in many journals, including Able Muse, Blue Unicorn, Hawai’i Pacific Review, Light, Mezzo Cammin, North Dakota Quarterly, Poet Lore, Third Wednesday, The Madison Review, The Midwest Quarterly, The Orchards, Tipton Poetry Review, and The Wayfarer; in the sidewalks of Northfield. Her work was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2017. In 2020 she served as guest associate editor for Third Wednesday’s Winter Issue. In 2021, she will serve as a judge for the Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest.). Schultz posts poems at www.winonamedia.net.

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