Repair (Tikkun)

a watercolor of a mother holding her child
Fear trembles my hand
when painting portraits.
There are so many pitfalls –
harsh edges, smudged lines.
I pause, take deep breaths
and try to focus, to accept
my errors in seeing, in naming.
I try to embrace
the names of pigments
as guides: ochre earth
for skin, for structure,
burnt sienna for cheek blush,
tiger’s eye for shadows
gathering behind ears, in creases –
such intimates places.
What is a painter? A witness
(often flawed) who tries to repair
a shadow, the angle of a shoulder?
I erase and redraw
glints in the eyes of an infant
embraced by his mother (who has suffered)
but is strong, suffused in light.
I lay down washes of sky blue,
where souls might circle.
Perhaps I’m layering a tinge
of my own story.
What is my work as painter?
To render, give honor?
To meet another’s soul
and offer mine,
so often in need of repair,
of understanding?
Art by the poet
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