The fragile shell cracks, and
midnight, a double yolk of time, spills over the city. Yellow consumes the
neon billboards of blue and silver, green and gold. Through this saffron veil, a
stage sparkles, delicate as fireflies glittering the summer grass of
Arles. Like rose petals before a bride, scattered medallions of moonlight
carpet Billie Holiday’s path. She caresses the lemon haze that is her
microphone and begins to sing.
Vincent waves his paintbrush—a
wizard’s wand, a bandleader’s baton—and replaces the gardenia in her hair
with a sunflower. Her song reminds him of crows in the wheatfields; memory
ensnares him. The behind-the-beat sway of her hips untangles and eases him
into the music, and when he joins her, their duet alters the air, shocking it
alive like a swimmer diving nude into a cold lake. Her voice is heartache
dipped in honey; his is love fevered in lemongrass. Her blues, his yellows
harmonize to create a song the color of crushed emeralds.
The traffic lights applaud. Rhythmic
puddles of red, red, red splash against the drizzling maize backdrop.
Vincent and Billie take a bow then exit stage left into the starriest night
The city is quiet as a crushed bell.
© 2002 Candi Chu