In his senior year,
Blue became his lover
Then his bride.
She locked him in her cool embrace
And pulled him down to depths
That sunlight could not reach.
The tender green of early spring,
The red and gold collage of fall
Were lost to him.
Even the elegant swans in the park
Had white breasts tinged with blue.
He came back home,
Dragging his failures behind him
Like a vestigial tail.
Some days he was convinced
He didn’t exist at all.
Stranded on the farthest shore,
Where no one else could find him,
He played blues riffs on his clarinet
And slept his life away.
Then one morning,
As he wandered in the woods,
His customary cigarette
A corner of his mouth,
He came upon a black shape
Buried in the leaves,
A dog tied to a tree,
Too weak to even bark,
Its hind legs quivering with fear.
He removed his old brown sweater,
Wrapped it up and brought it home,
Where he nursed it like a mother,
Morning, noon and night
And bathed its mangy coat
Until the raw spots disappeared.
The boy began to laugh,
To shout, to cry again.
The colors of his world returned,
Magenta, ochre, crimson,
He felt like Dorothy,
The monochrome of Kansas
To the dazzling light of Oz.
As for Blue, she had no trouble
Finding new lovers.
(originally published in The Blue Hour Magazine)