I don’t — can’t — do poetry. My last attempt was so I could be exempted from finals for a Cultural Studies class in college. But I love colour, and I love words, and I’m very lucky that they let me play with them.

Skies heavy with rain,
Pouring furiously down
And sideways,
Making my umbrella useless
And my lips
With cold,
Drenched jeans and squishy shoes,
Hair plastered to my head
I can’t wait to get indoors
Wrap my hands around a hot
And get out of these wet clothes
And into your warm arms.

Like a blank slate
Like creamy, springy balls of fresh mozzarella
Like three-hundred thread-count cotton sheets on a hotel bed
Before they get stained
And lose their magic.

The jeans label said,
But I was looking for
I’m a little obsessed with that hue
It’s really just
Isn’t it?
That was my school color
The lipstick I found today was called
Raisin rage
In the nineties it used to be
I think,
Maybe I like this shade of
Because it reminds me of

64 colours in a box
That had a built-in crayon sharpener
Names like cornflowerapricotmulberry,
Plumsalmonsepia and aquamarine
It was like giving a child a coat of many colours
For the rest of the children to plot against
Packed in the plastic portfolio
Placed in our cubicles
The next day
It was gone from mine
She had it in her hands
And was wrapping it with masking tape
To hide my name
The mean girl laughed
It wasn’t as if she couldn’t afford her own crayons
But I was the new girl
And we were aged six.


Tango, they called it
For the life of me, I couldn’t see why
Bold and perky
Needs no arty name
A blend of gold and flame
Energising and healing
Shades of a sunset
The colour of a homecoming
I wore it every day
The summer of 2000
Warm and optimistic
The colour of our friendship
In a box tied with gold ribbon
We packed so many those Christmases past
You even dressed your bridesmaids in it
It’s not my favourite colour
But I will always love orange.

Waters make me happy
Cerulean skies, too
They say indigo
Is a mystical hue
Next year Monaco blue
Is going to be the it-colour
But blue is also
The shade of sadness.

She taught me
To colour inside the lines,
Blending analogous hues
To create depth and texture,
Tracing the boundaries
With a heavier stroke than shading.
I thought she was
The bee’s knees,
Stretching her creativity
Within someone else’s.
We were so bound.
And then one day
She coloured way past
Past the outline,
Past the margin,
Past the paper.
Past the edge of the pedestal I put her on.
And her colours exploded beyond
Complementary and analogous
Beyond triads and tetrads and temperatures.
She coloured a rainbow.