Urging firsthand experience
of a pigment once considered definite,
the art teacher once pulled open
a raven's black-fingered wing,
separated the dark rough feathers,
brushed the back of her hand over
gleams of magenta, maroon,
the secret shine of canary, peacock green,
so that I learned to see in the dark.
Those shadows haunting the forbidden forest
or menacing unsettled at the bottom of a well
now conjure that carousel of colored pencils,
how they fanned out like painted ponies
in Houdini's carnival.
Inside a closed box, black shimmers, refracts
in the bull's-eye center of my pupils.
And the prophetic liquid
bubbling drunk with suspense
inside the Magic Eight Ball,
is really nothing more than
an innocent glass of port.
Look, even Death, that darkest of devils
hovering in the gloom, is adorned
with a billowing cape of crimson.