“Elegy for a Paint Tray”

I remember the watercolors of childhood,
Soft and magical, when a fairy tale could pass as world history,
And no one had heard of algebra or grammar.
But our childish curiosity gave way to impatience:
We so wanted to be the big kids and stay up later
That we thoughtlessly threw our paintbrushes into the cup
And let the watercolors in the tray dry out and crack.
And when responsibility reared its annoying head,
When we realized that staying up later was accompanied
By homework and chores,
We impetuously longed to forget about algebra and grammar
And pick up our brushes and open the watercolor tray;
Only, mom had thrown the paints and brushes into the trash
With the empty boxes of mac ‘n’ cheese.

[2010]

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