A stack of paint chips in sandstone, lemon, and cream spreads across the kitchen counter like a Tarot reading. Paint the kitchen sandstone, and the house will sell. Lemon, and our cupcakes will rise fluffy and light. Cream and there will be sex on the countertops, late night conversations at the table with two mouths for each strawberry, more hope than our ravenous appetites for eggrolls can satiate. This is how paint chips will save us. Better than lottery tickets, better than cash. The kitchen won’t be so tired, propping its 60s self up and trying to groove to the olive-green walls and brown tiles. I won’t be so tired, propping up the self I used to be against too many near-expired cans of soup and boxes of unfinished Girl Scout cookies. The one dying plant. The three 1/3 full liquid soap dispensers. All the teas. But a fresh coat of lemon, a touch of cream on the cabinets, sandstone to take my clown fall of a life seriously, these colors whisper I could be someone, or better yet be nobody, the disappeared host of a loud and vibrant dinner party. What no one tells you: It isn’t the color you choose. It’s the act of dip and roll, stretch of arms like you’re waving to someone great. It’s being worn out at the end of the day from hard work and not from its lack. Still, I won’t keep you in suspense. You can touch my knee as you reach for the Cool Whip, you can stay until morning, make Jackson Pollock designs on the plates under our sunny side up eggs on toast. Stay longer if you want, until the sweet cream softens to a dingy ivory, until we decide together on a new shade of blue.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This poem was selected from entries submitted to our Creative Challenge Series #61: First Sentence, which required that the first sentence must be used as given. Read other Creative Challenge winners. To find out how to participate, go to Creative Challenges.