His whole life seemed bruised,

facing that white canvas,

a stretch of color’s absence

at the colorful world’s heart –

depressing and exhilarating

at once.  For how could he,

Marcus Rothkowitz,

survivor of the fear in Dvinsk,

five-year-old Talmudist

and warehouse newspaper seller,

forget everything he knew

and, like a bald white canvas,

paint something that exemplified

the shock of that colorless other?

In his mind, he did not know

it would be paradoxical,

broadcasting all and no values,

a field of floating color

in fields of floating colors.



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