we were a blank canvas. we stared at the blank walls and we saw nothing but blank stares. it was an unusual existence.
until the artist showed up.

you would have thought that as the paintbrush tickled our chest, and as the oil paints ripped open our white stomachs, the pieces would fall into place. we would become beautiful and priceless. we would spiral into color and reach our vibrance towards the rest of the blank space.
as it turned out, art has a mind of its own.
instead, the colors bled together and ran down our body, no destination in mind. instead, it became hard to separate one brush stroke from the next.

and still, the artist continued to paint.

they dusted on red; bold and aggressive. we could feel it burning, searing at our canvas as it dribbled over us like blood. all the blood we had seen. all the blood we had felt, pushing desperately against our veins. the blood that stopped pushing at the veins of the dead.

they smeared on orange; steamy and bright. for the girl with the hair. we can never stop apologizing for the things, and even as the sun sets and rises in its cycle, it cannot cure the nighttime sickness. always an apology. always the flicker on a porch step. could it have been a monster or a tree? just wait until the sun comes up.

they brushed on the yellow; warm and blinding. a canary who sings only of her fears. a jittery song from a voice that trembles and a mind that quakes. we could hear the words she sang, but she made no sense. all she wanted was to be heard. in the end, the bird’s silence was deafening.

they blotted on the green; soft and soulful. a wish for a missing friend. a song for the breaking heart. we laid in the grass and pretended it was a bed of emeralds, that we were the crown jewels. as it appears, even gems can varnish, rust, crack, over time.

they marked me with blue; cool and wistful. a hard reminder of the missing sun and the empty ocean waves, and the fact that they could not make their sound, if not for the presence of a life. they drag the sand with them and still we cannot hear unless we are there, and we know we must find a way.

they decorated me with purple; harsh and wise. always the last color of the rainbow, never thought upon first. a grape that is red, not purple. a flower that is beautiful, not lilac. a plum that is black, not violet. the lost color, who lives with the lost boys, in the lost land, and boards the lost ship.

all of them, each and every color dripped down my blank white body until we were blinded by them. until we were entombed in a mess of oil paints. until each paint collided with one another to create an empty color.
and we dried like that. the color of an empty, smeared soul. the color of nothingness. none of the beautiful reds, yellows or blues remained. every single color was gone, except the empty color. we dried like that.
we are now a display.

—  when i painted my head.