Janelle DolRayne


After a painting I didn’t like                                                                            


—but I haven’t been to that highway exit yet
which means I don’t know the face of that gas station
attendant and I haven’t driven the strange angle
of that county road and I haven’t even the faintest
sympathy for the travel agent who left a goodbye note
to her beloved clients in the window of that empty storefront.
I haven’t been, and that’s why this painting doesn’t remind me
of that kind of love. But those colors I’ve seen
and that road is somewhere, and I have the strangest
desire to give an old friend a high five though I don’t
understand why. What I can make of it is that it’s something
like a bouquet of dried roses mixed into the trash,
something like the Brazilian men I haven’t met dancing,
something like my mother’s entropy after retirement,
after my father dies and I help clean the areas of the house
only he used. Something like the handprint I’ll make
in the dust of his drafting table, something like
the familiar way his desk drawers refuse my opening.
Make a note: Come back after my father’s long fulfilled life.
See then, if this painting reminds me of some kind of love.