Color Theory

By Jen Schalliol

turning white  with light   or milk

the color of music     says one

and another says:                  obscene

the moon’s white face.   this year is white


like each one gone before it   no,

never gone: they mount      and it’s been ages

entire eras        painted thick


we fail to read               into

the snows, the clouds, the thrones

of heaven, anointed skin          and purity


or shadows, sepulchers           death

and plagues        an ominous mass

of cells                black cancer

invoke fear        with shadow    with the night


I tell you death           has no shade   and

light is empty, falls    like water on its

object              illuminates brown

the same as sallow    let’s retire


opposites          the careless turn

of phrase           handcuffed to

ideas of clean   or sinister

and facedown             on the page


shake the lexicon        trace back

our steps          before they kill again


Jen Schalliol, a Chicago native and Pushcart nominee, received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her chapbook, Means of Access, was printed through The Kenyon Review, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Salt Magazine, Landscapes, decomP, Gapers Block, RHINO, Farrago’s Wainscot, and elsewhere.