Under the Boards

Misha Penton

Under the Boards

The house is empty. Window-doors, white and tall and narrow, swing wide to let in the blue whales. Diaphanous curtains swoosh to and fro. Outside is all sand, stillness, and quiet. Cliff-high dunes curve and swerve toward the sun. A rider trots his camel along the sea edge, his garments are pulled by hot wind and his head is starfire. I dip my hands and hair and face into vats of multicolor, my kiln-fired skin is a galaxy swirl of blue-green iridescence. My paintbrush toes catch struggling baby shadow-birds, their songs are wet with glaze. We fly. A seal pup is gnarled in slate skin and sweet wine-dark sinew—bone and meat exposed to sky. Seagulls eat the carcass. The mother seal swims along the shore, she is close. Paws tip-toe over warm wood floors; I think the baby is buried under these boards. “The baby isn’t here anymore.” Hot sand blisters my feet.


Misha Penton is a musician, artist, writer and director. Her projects blossom in many forms: live performances, media projects, films, installations, visual art works, and writings. mishapenton.com

Editor’s Notes: In such a complex poem as this, it is impossible to have one image capture the depth of meaning, so perhaps the image is simply a portal into the poem, with an early image, but the turbulence of the ensuing emotions, the longing, the desperate search for a different truth is hinted at with the way that image is represented. Here, we are directed to look out a white window (toppng) into the turbulent and uncertain sea represented by a gradient of iridescence and a bit of psychedelic-ness (freepik), with a blue humpback whale (toppng) in search for her lover, her child…for answers.

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