The bitter pomegranate opened,

With all its seeds and slices.

Split and spilling

All its juices

And kernels of watery flesh.

I have no heart, but a red-crystal cavity. Perhaps I once had a heart. But now I am the man without a heart. I am kept alive by the cavity.

Because I have spurned the ability to feel.

The pictures grow in my mind. A curve of paint, a flash of color; a pencil line here, a photograph there: They sprout and grow like trees in double-time, greening and bunching, until the leaves cloud over like a haze in the sky, its shape and patterns shifting thickly. The canvas becomes gorged on its own pigments, becoming ever the larger.

Soon the details merge. There is nothing but an entirety. The mass of picture. What to focus on?

And then there is something, a curve of color, or, perhaps, a pencil line in the paint—a tendril clinging tight, tight, tight, an imperfection phenomenal. It belongs and has no place here, because it is not wanted, but accepted.

It is nothing special. Nothing beautiful. But the light catches it, reveals depths in the pencil line or color, as if it is a well from the ocean.

And it becomes beautiful; the eyes cannot be torn from it. My eyes are those eyes; that pencil color is mine. It is silver dark. It shines like lead.

And suddenly my mind has faded into mist.

...

Let me hope.

Let me dream.

Learning to feel this way again.

My crystalline cavity, red and ruby, it fills with blood.

...

A swoop, a whoop.

A heave.

It is a wave. It crashes. It stings.

Someone has taken an eraser, or some water. Rubbing it over and over again on the colors. They smudge, but never really leave.

And then there is empty.

Well water stills, and it is silent and echoing and emptiness from here.

...

I take the dagger from my cavity,

The blood on fire.

The passion cut away,

Replaced with a stone of round proportions.

...

Twelve thousand tablets landed on my shoulders today.

I told you so, I say to the painting, to the colors smudged and grayed. As I pull the fire from my breast; its chamber emptied of flame.

It drops.

It burns.

The parchment canvas paper burns.

It burns, burns, burns.

My eyes, they burn.