Ricky Ray

One Brush Paints, The Other Longs for the Hand


All day I watched the wind in the meadow,
a paintbrush collecting pollen.

It dipped and swirled, then died down,
retreating to the inner world to paint children.


The wind kept running out of pigment
and coming back for more.

I sat there all day waiting,
but though I felt it brushing alongside,

I never felt its bristles in me.
I knew why, but didn’t want to believe.


I could no more impregnate the orchard
than I could my wife,

whom I told of the brush
and my day in the meadow watching it.

Her face aged five years as she said,
there are too many of us already.

I nodded.
She believed this wholeheartedly,

and I thought imitation
would teach me to be a believer, too.



Ricky Ray lives with his wife and his old brown dog in the old green hills of the Hudson Valley. He is the author of Fealty (Diode Editions, 2019); Quiet, Grit, Glory (Broken Sleep Books, 2020); and The Sound of the Earth Singing to Herself (Fly on the Wall Press, 2020), a finalist for The Laurel Prize. Follow his travels at rickyray.earth