Deluxe Colors Collage & Poetry by Kathy Cotton


Deluxe Box of Crayons

Beneath this pale Caucasian skin—

the skin of my mother’s mother and father’s father,

beneath this unremarkable brown hair

and behind these ordinary brown eyes

that are the eyes of all my family, even the dog,

beneath, behind, beyond this commonness, I am

the Deluxe Box of Crayons:  

one-hundred-twenty unblended colors

scribbling exotic names—Cerulean, Burnt Sienna,

Mahogany, Maize, a crowd of immigrant pigments

unwilling to melt in my melting pot.

This Deluxe Box holds Fuchsia to attract hummingbirds.

Quaker gray for silent sitting. Outrageous Orange for

stumbling over politics. In the company of Blue, I can

match that patch of sky, her silk shirt, his denim jeans.

See me here, fiery Red as habanero; there—White as arctic ice.

Some believe I should defect from every hue but one,

become a solitary color’s citizen, wear a single country’s seal.

But I am the Deluxe Box, dressing my heart in tie-dye,

rainbows, confetti; waving on the hill of each moment

its hand-made, one-of-a-kind flag. I am the Deluxe Box

whose skin is red and yellow, black and white,

male and female, flower and beast, bright light and midnight.

Come close, look inside. Watch me search

my chameleon stash for a deluxe handful of myself

perfectly matched to you.

       --Kathy Cotton, First Place Illinois State Poetry Contest

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