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Life, Lightened


Like a runaway artist, you used to flee
your patients' modern anguish at home

to stroll along the ochre squares of Rome,
to sketch a yellow leaf, a tawny hound,

to see unvarnished color with free eyes
far from our jaundiced complaints,

from having to be wise—as you've escaped
from all of us now, your therapy room

now a studiolo, with a gallery of work
you'd never have hung before,

for fear of disturbing "our work."
And after your attendant

guides you up the elevator that
we, your patients, rode (almost over-

weighting it with our emotions
so some days it barely chugged

to the tan walls of the 21st floor)
you approach your door with

yellow mimosa that you'll paint, after
you unlock it, having learned

to use keys again, holding
both hands to twist the cylinder.

When you lived as an artist on the lam
for that month each year, you used

the watercolor pencils in your hand
not to note our dreams

(and now, who cares?)
but to draw the jonquil things you saw,

and live the raw I am, as you do now,
relearning how to show

the few of us who stay in touch
how to twist and learn.


Molly Peacock

The Analyst
W.W. Norton


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