Inmate at the Academy

my nights never end
without pain’s acrid exclamation point
my eyelids bagged with the weight of visions
piling up like snow

canvas is so expensive these days

I was the stillborn child:
miscarried zygote wrapped in cellophane
the little red rooster in my chest
never learned to crow

layers of paint crack like dry lips

every morning I sought some novel
egress from the womb
any way to avoid the clutch of forceps
and the endless playground taunts

colors melt in my mouth like carnival treats

but fear has been the finest of teachers
I’ve learned to say grace
every time I draw
a lungful of air

my brush is more accurate than any needle