The painting inspired by a poem or vice versa

Shangri-la

Acrylic, Leaf, Map, on Canvas
24"x30"

2015

The Writer's Center 2015

Belonging

                                                            Melanie Figg

If there is a map to get here, it’s buried

under layers of paint and skitter, a bouquet

of wary and doubt. A girlhood of scars married

to skin. All my life I’ve been bracing for someday:

gear up, set out, gaze locked on the horizon, lost

in the rush of promise above the trees. A silver ring

holds worlds of warm turquoise, woozy and star-crossed.

I’ve been watching the signs. I’ve tried everything

else. There’s a dumb moment when you spot birds

of prey and it’s some kind of magical sign. I rehearse

the story of our romance through internet passwords—

an indigo oasis  in the metal grin of commerce.

A talisman to cleave to, a forecast to ignore.

Fires are messaging from the opposite shore.