AN ARTIST’S NIGHTMARE

by Dilruba Z. Ara

Her paintings were losing colours, leaving no traces

Fading away within their wooden frames,

As taste of kiss fades away even though lips

Remain there stuck on blank faces.

Or, as colour of henna vanishes from

An Indian bride’s palm leaving it white like an ant’s eggs.

 

Pigments of colour vanishing in the canvasses,

making no ripples.

Her  head swirling, mind sinking in a purgatory of darkness.

Nothing it seemed, she could do to save her works.

Voices of the fading images buzzed in her head;

arguments, anxiety, dying screams

And cries for assistance

All coming out through their colourless mouths.

As though they were being blanched against their wishes.

 

She turned away, moving towards the hamper

Bright with fruits and berries that waited in the corner.

To be picked up by gallery-visitors the day after.

Each fruit sparkled like fresh blob

Of oil colour on a pallet of a painter.

She bent her head for they seemed to be waiting there only to be wasted.

 

And then. Behold!

Something changed.

An  iridescent hope jumped into her  head,

Strangling the buzzing sounds within it.

Dispersing the darkness.

Telling her that the  portraits could

Do with a feast of colourful meal.

 

Colours! Oh, precious colours!

In her brain colours flared up.

Certainly anaemia  could be cured by a dose of multicoloured fruits.

She grabbed the basket to go round the paintings.

Like a loving mother she begged and coaxed

Her portraits to open their mouths,

To have a taste of the red strawberries,

Yellow pineapples, emerald kiwis and cobalt grapes.

 

And Lo, then the miracle happened

One by one they all opened their mouths

Sucking In the nectar of the colourful fruits

until they regained  their original hues,

once again glowing

for making their appearance in an alien atmosphere.

 

And in her sleep she turned side.

Curling against her infant daughter,

Who was whimpering to be breast-fed.

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