Purple Sestina

October 7, 2008
I have always loved the color purple.
Purple is like a lever,
Shifting between two meanings. It’s like fire and ice,
Richness and scarcity,
Bread that is pumpernickel and rye.
It is a strange color, ignorant and diligent.

I used to sit on the floor, coloring diligently.
The crayon in my hand was purple.
I chewed a cracker of rye,
The purple crayon working like a lever.
I continued this way until there was a scarcity
Of paper not frozen by purple ice.

There continued to be ice,
Until I left for college, where I diligently
Marked in gray pencil. Now there was a new scarcity,
A scarcity of purple.
I had broken my lever;
The lever of pumpernickel and rye.

I no longer ate crackers of rye,
Colored paper with ice,
Or used my favorite lever,
The one of ignorance and diligence,
My color, purple:
The color of richness and scarcity.

I continued to have this scarcity.
I went years without rye,
Without my happy and lonely purple,
Without its ice,
Without its diligence,
Without its lever.

But I did eventually find purple’s lever-
When I found a new family. It wasn’t a scarcity
Of old love, but a richness of new diligence.
I set a loaf of rye
On the table for my child with a glass of ice.
She is wearing purple.

I give her a purple crayon from the glass and a slice of rye.
She draws ice on paper, the crayon in her hand a lever.
Like it once did to me, diligence moved her lever without scarcity.

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