To Arrive in This Moment

I’ve been painting a still life
for weeks, not once,
a series of 5 objects:

jar, lemon, lemon slice, glass and bird.

I’ll try to be clearer:
rose-tinted water jar (half-filled),
whole lemon, sliced lemon wedge,
stemless wine glass (red),
plaster bird, the size of my outstretched

hand, which grasps a brush
so balanced and fine bristled, it extends
my fingers, arm, ribs, the pivot
of my spine    as to create

the illusion of flight.
This encourages the bird,
who’s been warming the nest
of my palm, but now flits

to the turquoise scarf
near the lemon and jar
and peers out the window at a finch
trembling a branch.

What’s moves us most?

Window light pours in, shifts
this moment     to the next    
to the next,

Shadows tremble like voices, like smoke.
I arrange and rearrange
where objects sit, how they relate

like I’m trying to pray,
to get the prayer right.

Maybe it’s my counting.
There aren’t 5 things here,
but also the sky-blue scarf,
white table beneath,
the window and clarity of light
it admits.

Plus shadows. Plus souls.
Plus vibrant puddles of paint that tremble

with each dip of the brush
by my frail hand, arm and ribs
each time I reach

to fly, to pray.

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