Self Portrait

by COLIN SCHMIDT

 
 

3.45 x 5.15

Breath on mirror.

 

This is a picture of a house. This is a picture of a boy kneeling in front of a house in the grass and studying the dirt. The boy has become a student of dirt. This is a picture of that dirt they picked from his teeth and nails when he came home at midnight and promised to stop searching for his father. This a picture of a boy scraping paint off the house. Never mind that he does it with his teeth. This a picture of a boy eating his way to heaven. Remember that. This could be a picture of the way things begin again but there isn’t quite enough light to tell yet. I’m not sure this is a picture that could drive anyone to bravery, someone says. This is a picture of a woman lying on the lawn with her eyes shut tight as rain falls through a hole in her body, and it is a picture of a boy carrying a needle toward her, a needle attached to black thread that unravels from the heart of a black lake. But what I don’t understand is whether this is a picture about grief or love. Thank you for understanding. This is a picture of a bat big enough to carry away a child and it is a picture of a boy wearing its fangs on a chain and its pelt as a coat. In the almost light in this picture, the woman sits up on the lawn and looks at the boy, but now she is wearing a crown of fire. Hang it where your mother’s mirror was. Hang your father’s face in your mirror now. This is a picture of the boy and the woman rising from the grass together and turning to go back into the house. The house is on fire. They go inside.