National Gallery, 1989“Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible.” –Paul Klee
In the National Gallery of Art, we ramble like children on a field trip through archways and corridors that lean into us, brush our shoulders and fingers. Like fine shimmering sand, this chaste air shifts between us and whispers its omen. We pretend no knowledge, but when I catch your sideways glance, I know this game is not for children. In the East Wing, you tell me you don't like Rothko: "It's just formless color. What does it mean?" I sit with Earth & Green for an hour, caught colored in eternal stirrings, memory, desire, but I admit I don't know what it means. You like Renoir, because he paints people as people. It's the same, I think, people as they are. It's the same, your black wool sweater and pale thin lips hold back like solid canvas the quick beating of your heart. When I reach to brush a hair from my mouth, your hand drifts to my face, skin on paint on skin on paint. Later, we sit in your parked car, the space between us pulsing with old and urgent dreams, half-forgotten summer strands of beach and waves, salty fingers inventing castles under the true yellow sun and the sky blue sky, no clouds. Blocks of color best left to children, these yearnings are so palpable our lips taste like seaweed, we hold each other's dreams undone. Your wife doesn't know you are here. My husband knows, but he trusts me.