University of Minnesota
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Beth Nersesian


Paint Chip Poem

Shelves surround me.

Aisles of shelves. 

Offering thousands of books like a meadow offers wildflowers.

I flit from one title to the next.  They promise 
to bring excitement, intrigue, shock, perhaps new perceptions. 
A little bitterness mixed with the sweet. 

My roving eyes land on a colorful paperback, a budding best-seller that promises to inspire.  Like a bee sampling the nectar of a spring blossom, I take a chance and read the back cover. 

Its appeal weakens as it quickly turns bland and tasteless, lacking any true sustenance.

I floated right, left.  One row, the next.  Once again on the hunt.

There.  I spot one with a dusty, yellow jacket.  I crack the spine. Savor the first words of a far-off land.  I read the first chapter and am hungry for more.  Grasping it to me, I fly off, eager to glean what morsels of truth I can from it.

I arrive home.  Words spill and I soak them in

The author advises me, 
amuses me, 
questions me, 
confuses me. 
Her carefully placed words challenge my assumptions and include me in the quiet conversation of the world we share—a sort of pollination from soul to soul.

Throughout the process, I grow and develop. I create a stockpile of thoughts to call my own, to rely upon later—each thought carefully shaped and formed, stored away like honey in the cells of a honeycomb.  They ripen unsealed—left open to the elements.  Waiting to be refined with time.

I go back to square one, fluttering from shelf to shelf, sifting through multitude of titles 

while the golden glow of a stained glass lamp casts shadows, making each title dance as if a blossom in the breeze.

[Pittsburgh Paints’ “Adventurous” collection: golden glow, dusty yellow, & pollination]