I wonder how far we’ve travelled together;
how many strokes made on fresh canvas,
how many litres of paint between us,
how many times I forgot you in the water jar.
Some of you crossed the ocean with me,
hidden amongst clothes on an epic journey.
Some of you got left behind, only to be re-enlisted
to resume this trifle as though I’d never left.
Broken down brushes – handles and heads popping apart;
quite literally coming unstuck.
As soon as you’d wiggled free, out came the duct tape,
and so your indentured toils resumed.
You rebelled, shrugging your paint off from the inside,
flaking into the water, to reveal the raw wood beneath;
only to be loved longer for your naked truth
held in my hand as I painted mine.
I bought new brushes, but hid them from you –
as we weren’t done yet.
Your old familiarity, the confidence in my work.
New tools would fray me once more.
But now you betray me outright: rogue bristles
spoiling my lines and slowing me down.
It’s your turn to go into a box
until I repurpose you into an artwork of your own.