Poetry / October 2017 (Issue 37)

Watercolor Workshop, 1998

by William Woolfitt

for Henry Fukuhara

At Manzanar again, first time in forty years.
He sees foundation stones, tumbleweeds,
a sentry post. Mostly gone. Desert a great sea,
brittle, wind-swept. He tells his students
start with the shapes of clouds, hills, the sky.
His daughter Grace born in the camp,
his job then surveying grave plots. Be brave,
change things around. He’s not bitter,
he has said. He charcoals the jagged
backdrop of Mount Whitney, cobalts the sky.
You water a big brush, dissolve the lines.
He still won’t paint the towers, the wires.
Let your eye waver, let it lose and find.

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