The Canvas

January 27, 2010
He painted the first coat
on the first day of junior high.
His parents had told him he was perfect,
The critics only saw his flaws.

Each year as he matured,
he added new color where the old
had bled, dripped or run.
The critics started to notice his work.

Year by year, coat by coat,
the layers of paint grew
glossier, smoother, more perfect.
They thought his work a masterpiece.

His skill with the brush unmatched,
he quickly mastered his gift.
Brushstrokes all but disappeared.
They never doubted his work as genuine.

He grew close to one of them,
but had not waited, as he should have,
for the paint to dry between coats.
One chip, and she saw through the farse.

Who are you? -A simple question
He rubbed the paint like sun-burned
skin, flaking and peeling away.
The layers too many, all he offered

in response were fragments of lies.
He lost her as a cracked
painting loses its perfection.
They would no longer look in awe.

He pulled, scratched, and scraped
to find the answer. A river of red joined
the cascading flakes, reminding him
that he had done it for them. For her.

He returned home to ask
those who had called him perfect.
They saw only his scars and his lies;
they had forgotten what lay beneath.

He cleansed himself of imperfection
with a frothy jar of crisp paint remover.
Layer upon layer melted away until
his canvas was cleared.

Crumpled on the floor lay the carcass
of a boy who had just begun junior high,
shriveled up like a raisin in the harsh sunlight,
an artist starved of truth.

Join the Discussion

This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

thescientistyellow This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 20, 2010 at 7:53 pm
I love the way you use painting as a method of explaining the boy's life, very unique...
WriteForLove said...
Feb. 19, 2010 at 6:11 pm
Wow that is absolutely amazing! You need to keep writing and never stop!!! Really though, it's! Great great job! Please keep writing!
Nikiblue said...
Feb. 17, 2010 at 8:40 pm
Wow, that was so good! You definitely have talent. Keep it up!
Pensive?Gurl said...
Feb. 17, 2010 at 5:57 pm
whoa! you have true talent, my friend.
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