Painters Paint

At eight years old,
And lacking much like talent,
I look around the class
At other kids:

The girl beside me,
Tight black hair and brilliant,
Her future full
Of galleries and bids —

The teenage boy,
With parents always fighting,
Whose eyes burn blue
And in whose hand a brush

Turns into something
Almost like a weapon,
And on whom
Black haired girl has such a crush.

The twins, whose sharp
Intention marks their faces,
Each word the teacher says
A precious thing

To them, in their devotion to
Their training;
To labor rather than to
Dance, or sing —

The teacher: short,
Demure, and full of passion,
Her hands as small as mine,
But far more skilled

At making fruit and bottles
Look like something,
A vision caught, transfigured,
Then fulfilled.

All of us, like ants
Upon an anthill,
We did our jobs, our missions,
Sans complaint:

And though I wasn’t really one,
I know now,
The same way hearts keep beating,
Painters paint.

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