Wednesday, September 8, 2010


There are fourteen different families
of yellow.
We usually think of primary yellow,
the poster child, the yellow who fills in
smiley faces, but that is only one.
They are not all the same:

The deep overripe-banana yellow and
his cousin, the yellow of headlights-in-fog.
The bright yellow of lemons and
her best friend, the sharp sunlight-after-
rain-in-midmorning. In fact, it takes
a whole slew of aunts and uncles
just to get the sun
across the sky,
not to mention all of the grandchildren who
take care of the glancing sunbeams.

There's the yellow of egg yolks,
who moonlights in traffic lights
for some extra cash.
The melancholy yellow of jaundiced skin, and
the pale yellow in faded laundry stains,
that may once have been punch or chocolate,
but are now tired blotches of left-over.
Other yellows petal the countless flowers of spring,
and flesh out the full ears of fall corn.

Yellows warm us in our nightlights,
cheer us in our birthday candles, and smile at us
from gold-rimmed spectacles.
Yellows paint our walls and ceilings with the patterns
of home
when the roof leaks.
Yes, there are fourteen families of yellow.
And we need them all.

May 14, 2009

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