By Richard LeDue

I.

We believe we're safe,
sealed away behind walls,
white as snow
because we were told to repaint
every five years,
while memories of artificial trees
(always green),
appear immutable,
but just long enough to fool us,
like the angel on top
until the lights burned out,
and our eyes have become dull
as overspent pennies
that fall from pockets,
unnoticed.

II.

I want to be like graffiti,
not that pale paint,
usually on sale for half price,
out of fashion,
and used to colour the guest room,
or worse, become a vanilla envelope,
containing an apologetic letter
no one will ever read.

I want to be misspelled words,
backwards letters,
a crass message you can't ignore,
instead of a a well policed wall,
saying nothing.

III.

My words try to be vivid,
but they're never enough,
while I chase darkness
trying to make midnight mean more
than a flickering light bulb
I'm too lazy to fix,
and I keep promising myself
to repaint our front steps,
as if a brighter colour
could say more than this poem.

IV.

It took us too long
to realize the shadows at night
a redundant paint job,
just a second coat of darkness
we buy into
because of a smooth sales pitch
from someone who seemed to know
how to mix colours,
only for us to lie awake,
doubting it all.

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