by Dave Seter
As if he never wants to finish,
the artist dabs a shade more shadow
on the undersides of clouds,
while a string of pelicans drags past, unbroken,
not seeming to notice this effect of light.
The painter may seem a blot on a bluff.
He presents no obstacle to the ocean
casting its spray in fistfuls. He drags
a bandanna across his neck and stands back.
Only a few stray gulls betray a hungry curiosity
for this man; but he tosses no cheese puffs,
popcorn, sourdough crusts, as do tourists.
The gulls do not care particularly
for art, the careful rendering of this cliff
in oil, a little red mixed into the green for shadow.
High overhead, hawks know instinctively
the brushes bristling with fur are not bloodied,
not alive despite the vigor of their movement.
The artist may as well wrestle a snake
to make them pay attention; break
those loops upon loops they make in the sky.
Though he’s been standing still a long while now,
the artist brushes a last bee of the season
from his line of vision before making
one last addition—reluctantly—reluctantly--
one last dot—reluctantly—