“Vitiligo” by Cynthia Read Gardner

The pear I keep painting is green.
Sometimes it casts a long shadow
like a man in a hall.
Sometimes it sits inside its shade
like a dancer turning.

The darkest line where object meets surface –
the way the stem indents into a dip of fruit –
a white highlight at the highest value
and blue-black at the deepest.

I’ve lost pigment all over my body.
My face is a canvas of lights and darks.
Night where the pigment stayed and day where it fled
around my eyes, my nose, my lips,
and places of high use and injury –
elbows, knuckles, or places where it hurts.

Cynthia Read Gardner’s poems have been published in Alaska Quarterly Review, Southern Poetry Review, The Bridge, and various anthologies such as Crossing Paths: An Anthology of Poems by Women, (Mad River Press, 2002). A chapbook, How Will They Find Me, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2012. She has been employed as a clinical social worker for many years. She and her husband live in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and have two grown sons.