“Planning A Painting to Remember Home and a Pink Dress”

–After Wyeth’s Christina’s World

My perspective is too close: I must leave my house to remember, but I won’t go far. I’m afraid I’ll forget the common colors of home, the golden fields of hay, the unpainted wood, and father’s brown funeral suit.

Christina, my neighbor, my dear friend crippled in the chair, she will do. I will carry her away from her parents’ home and say she will be more free. She will hesitantly agree as I fit her in her best: the pink dress. But we won’t make it far before I can no longer carry her wasted form. The field is large and town is far and her gentle fretting will enhance our fear. I will ask her if I can rest a while. Then I will lay her in the scorched grass just outside her parents’ kept lawn. And I will kneel to keep her from feeling further out of place.

Soon she will turn to see her parents’ home and the ladder where we snuck out of her second-story window. The birds will fly from the barn’s hayloft. She will not ask me to carry her back, for she will be ashamed. And as I pull my easel from my bag and mix my pigments with the field dirt, she will consider crawling back without my help.

I must remember to bring some paint to match her dress.





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James Madison Redd

About James Madison Redd

A winner of the Mari Sandoz / Prairie Schooner Award and nominee for inclusion in Best New American Voices, James Madison Redd heads the Crooked Letter Interview Series, a monthly online series featuring contemporary Mississippi writers. His fiction, poetry, and scholarship has or will appear inFifth Wednesday, Penwood Review, Subliminal Interiors, Parting Gifts, and other literary journals. Currently, he is an Editorial Assistant for Prairie Schooner and is writing his dissertation, a novel called Revival!