I remember vintage matchbook covers
from my youth – Are You An Artist? – Find Out –
Draw This Dog! The promise always seemed so
unimpeachable: mail in your picture,
after a few lessons, fame would follow.
Canine profiles presaging masterpieces.
I never sent any drawings of dogs
or doorways or dusky landscapes. Maybe
I hoped for more personal discoveries.
Like being snagged for film stardom after
slinging hash at some diner, the talent
scout looking up from the Blue Plate Special.
Or maybe I lost heart when I wielded
my paintbrush on our third grade mural,
trying to capture those thrilling moments
when Lewis and Clark reached journey’s end.
My schoolmate Anne caught their glint of eye
as I struggled to turn sticks into trees.
But now I have picked up my medium
pencil – a sturdy number two – paper
and eraser. I am trying to breathe
life into an old glazed white pitcher,
a small chunk missing from the lip, tiny
cracks barely visible to a naked eye.
Long gone its days as lemonade vessel,
ceramic luster caressed by sweating ice.
As light flows down onto a paint-splattered
table, casting a thin shadow, I think
about how hard it is for three dimensions
to evolve from two. Just like poetry.