I Had Some Colors
by Jessica Lynne Henkle

“And there in the seat beside me was not Marcus anymore but Gordon, Carter, Josh, Erik, and all the others who said love me love me love me, but not quite that much.”
– Pam Houston, “The Whole Weight of Me”

I had some colors: yellow, purple, pink–or let’s say
magenta, because it sounds more poetic. And each of these
colors swam inside of me like clownfish, happy, but maybe sad
when you took the time to ask them, though I can’t always tell
the difference between these two emotions.

I could not paint my colors. I was born with two left thumbs.
So I tried to write my colors, left thumbs hitting space space
between each tinge and tone as I typed them, got them out from
where they swam inside of me, though I can’t always say exactly
what I mean when I try to write my colors.

I had some colors: gold, black, blue–cerulean like the sky after
weeks of long rain, but sometimes blue like the Pacific in Southern
California when there’s been a bad storm. That is, gray. But I had
my blue, bright or not, though I can’t say it mattered, and I would
learn it never made a difference to you.

I could not give you my colors. I tried, but you wouldn’t let me.
I pulled red from my chest, tugged the yarn strands of green from
inside my lungs, spun you weaves of orange–or maybe ocher,
because it sounds more poetic, though you weren’t attracted to the
poet in me. I wanted to impress you just the same.

I had some colors: silver, silver, silver–there is no other word for
silver, for coming undone the way it fades so fast with tarnish. I am
out of jewelry cleaner, and you won’t buy me any. We had some colors,
though you wouldn’t let me write them from your insides, get them
out. You were gray. You were frightened by my colors.