ROTHKO NO. 9
Dark over Light Earth / Violet and Yellow in Rose

The violet appears black at first—
a night without stars,
a lake of ink my body could float
on—cradled, rocked, by
wavelet upon wavelet. But it’s violet,
a quiet

violet room I can walk into—
rest—and find my own
way into the dark expanse within:
the still, bottomless
stretch, where the descent is no drop, but a soft
unfolding.

Just below, there’s breath and heat: the sun
below my ribs, day’s
bright middle light as it slips into
afternoon. This yellow
ground gives forth a glow fit to pierce the abyss.
Then there’s rose—

two colors contained in rose—a place,
a cloister, witness
to a process of blossoming.
It’s the rose of adobe
walls in Santa Fe: Holy Faith. It’s the rust-
orange warmth

of dusty trails in hidden canyons.
It’s the clay unearthed
from water’s silence—rock, minerals,
transformed—slip thrown on
the spinning potter’s wheel, soon shaped by movements
of careful

hands. The vessel’s round belly and wide
mouth yield to fire.

© Laura Braverman

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