Lauren Scharhag is an award-winning writer of fiction and poetry. She is the author of Under Julia, The Ice Dragon, The Winter Prince, and West Side Girl & Other Poems, and the co-author of The Order of the Four Sons series. Her work has appeared in multiple magazines and anthologies. When not writing, she can be found hanging out in prisons or embarking on art pilgrimages. She lives on Florida’s Emerald Coast. To learn more about her work, visit: http://www.laurenscharhag.blogspot.com
The Invention of Blue
Before there was blue, what was the sky?
Hemmed in by the ceilings of our cavern shelters
We adorned limestone with sooty pigments,
And concerned ourselves only with the fall
Of the colorless rain, the blinding snow.
We did not confront the world’s openness
Until we were ready to take on the fields,
To sail our vessels heroically over the wine-dark sea.
But what color were the wild larkspur spires,
The eyes of children who retained womb-pale irises,
Raising their heads to squint up at the browbeating sun?
No bluebirds sang on Homeric hedges,
No blueberries burst from honeyed confections.
Yet surely we knew the shimmer of a cormorant’s body,
Surely we knew the sweetness of the bluebell meadows,
The fairywren, the damselfly. Surely we hauled, in our flaxen nets,
Thrashing schools of bluefin, and flecked our aprons
Stripping them of their silvery plates, before smoking them
Into some meat shade we recognized.
Somehow, we knew only the humor colors: bile-green,
Urea yellow, the blood vintage.
We followed the blazing tunnel of sunset by which
The day exited, prayed ourselves to sleep
Where black and white dreams awaited,
And noted no absence.
What must it have been to find the minerals
From which we ground the sky?
What epiphany shook blue powder into our palms
And conjured heaven?