Archive for July, 2018

  

“I want each of you to tell us why you’re here.”

An awkward silence hangs over the round table in the church basement.

“Doesn’t anyone want to share why you signed up for this?” Ms. Maria asks.

To fix my soul? Iris thinks, looking down at her feet under her chair. She rotates her right sneaker. Her sole is definitely cracked.

The other five souls stare down at the blue box and paper Ms. Maria has given them. Minutes into the first art therapy for beginner’s class, Ms. Maria is already exasperated. “All right then, take out your crayons and let them wander.”

Iris hears wonder and wonders, about what? She’d like to tell Ms. Maria that everyone’s scared because of their cracked soles. Plus they were expecting more than just three crayons.

Ms. Maria soldiers on. “With these primary colours, you have everything you need. You can mix blue and yellow for green, make purple with red and blue!”

Iris hears blew, opens her box, removes a crayon and blows on it lightly. The woman next to her shifts in her seat. The man on her other side coughs nervously. They all watch Ms. Maria draw red lines on her piece of paper.

With her crayon, Iris draws three parallel lines across the page. Within each section she scrawls some loops in blue. They look like words with a secret message. Take part, make heart. The crayons’ waxy smell intoxicates.

At the end of the hour, Ms. Maria gives them homework, urging her students to spend their days (Iris hears daze) outdoors as much as possible. “Go out to see!” Iris hears sea and wonders who’s confused now. The town is landlocked, the closest body of water being a river that ribbons nearby. Ms. Maria says, “Remember, we’re here to share. For next time, we’ll all exhibit our art.” Or is it heart?

On her day off work, Iris goes out with the box of crayons and a sketchpad. In the park by the river, a floppy Lab is playing fetch with a kid on the field. It’s a blustery spring day, too early for flowers, the grass in between winter and summer. The river is an icy grey.

Iris sits on a boulder. The wind blows her hair all over the place. She takes the blue crayon and works on the river. Ripples and water are hard to do, she discovers. For the grassy riverbank, she draws one inch vertical lines, the old, withered blades in yellow and the new ones in green made of yellow and blue.

A gust sends her crayon box flying. She tries to catch it. The Lab beats her to it, chews the box before spitting it out. The blue box flies off in the wind.

Iris returns to her boulder, thinking bolder. She’s still got her three crayons. It’s what’s inside that counts, write?

 

Cora Siré is the author of a poetry collection, Signs of Subversive Innocents, and two novels, The Other Oscar and Behold Things Beautiful. She lives in Montréal, and can be found online at www.quena.ca

 

 

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“Around us, everything is writing…”

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