Falling Out of Context

By Jen Sharda

In the gallery, the artist’s

smallest painting holds

at its center a perky black splatter

on the side of the boy’s

white-shirted chest.


He’s falling in profile

loosely jackknifing assward

as if off a mountain

into the swale of blue sky.

Paintings nearby are dotted


yellow for sunlight,

red to have fun, white

calling all’s safe. Different

from that inky kiss

planted deep mid-chest


by the splash and sloosh

of a good mud puddle.

Like my mother’s death,

dreaded a lifetime, her eyes

intent, her mouth moving


over and over past breath

till I saw it was words

and returned them, Oh…

Mom! I love you too.

Saw her let go


with deep smile and gaze

as if her sharp and dark

were absorbed forever

into the cheerful blots

exploding between us.

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