(after Maud Lewis)

Bright citrine eyes stare out from the matte black body.
I’m a deer caught in their headlight gaze.
Sharp stick-like-fur stab into the pastoral landscape.
You won’t let blackness bleed through,
mar this idyllic scene.
The heavy awkward body plops
down beside the tulips, crowding
them to the very precipice of canvas.
Tender apple blossoms reach overhead
to dip and bend around pert ears.
Each brushstroke is compartmentalised for survival.
All your darkness, reimagined as a
harmless ball of fur. All your pain,
playing dress up as a cat.
A painting full of false naivety, an
illusion I see through.

This poem was inspired by the painting “Black Cat with Tulips and Apple Blossoms.”

Melissa Thorne

Melissa Thorne (she/her) is an emerging poet who resides in Cobourg, Ontario, nestled within the ancestral lands of the Michi Saagiig and Chippewa Nations. She has participated in various local poetry readings and publications. She shares her home with her husband, two young sons, and Irish Wolfhound, Walter. Though initially reluctant, Melissa has assumed the role of Walter's social media manager after he inadvertently went viral. You can catch glimpses of Walter's adventures on Instagram (@walterthewolfie) as his account flourishes far beyond Melissa's own poetry page.