Catherine Theis

the horses back down
into meadows starched golden
the summer’s drought
the mountains crack fire
the painting roped off
smaller than the other masterpieces
but framed just the same
the smoke particles appear
in the dusky sky only to
disappear come night
ashy quiet veins pulsing
with the push and pull
of flame branding its name nearby
you who are curious can’t sleep
through the night I sing songs
about ships and we heave
and sway while California burns
without apology I call you baby
butterflies swarming around
us in protection while the moon
cascades your body in halo
I couldn’t think straight
but I could count the breaths
it took me to return to you
our sails entwined
winds carrying your name
coupled with mine
the way you hold light
in your tiny hands
in your mouth
a tiny candle
how you drop it
behind tapestries
behind curtains
behind bed sheets
how it throws a historical glow
upon my face
another painting
of the Virgin Mother and baby