My face distorts and dances
in the rippling water.
And a goldfish floats through my nose.
Lean against your crumbling shack,
And try to paint with mud.
Ignore the biting fleas and mosquitos
and itching lice and hookworm,
Unless of course you crush them to make paint.
Ignore your running nose,
Your dirty bruises,
And the endless throb of hunger
in your chest.
Listen only to the urge to paint,
And if you listen well and obey,
You need not feel the pain of poverty.
Dale S. Brown is the author of I Know I Can Climb the Mountain, a poetry book which sold out its first edition of 1,000 copies. She is the author of four other non-fiction books and many articles, including one that was published in the Washington Post. Over 200 of her poems were published in literary magazines and newspapers. She read her poetry at The Folger Library, Martin Luther King Library, Georgetown Hospital and many other venues. She has read each year for Poetry Café, a program of the Arts and Humanities Division of Georgetown University. Her most recent featured reading was for Words Out Loud in 2020.
Image by Shinnosuke Matsubara, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons