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Friday, May 09, 2014


by Joan Colby

Painting by George W. Bush

He is painting dogs, we’re told.
So far, he’s done fifty. One shows
a fluffy terrier, another a Maltese,
both on backgrounds the color
of morning glories. His teacher says
he’s moving on to landscapes
like Winston Churchill. I’d like to see
studies of coffins offloaded from planes
in secrecy or one of a legless soldier
or an Iraqi child shot at a checkpoint.
This painting from the viewpoint
of one seated shows his feet
sticking up out of the bathwater.
Another depicts him in the shower.
I have to wonder why he favors
himself immersed like a baptism.
He has that cocky sense of humor
so you could almost like him.
I’d like a painting where he’s holding
a mandate to waterboard the constitution
or one clearing cedar brush, his previous hobby.
His teacher lauds his talent, says he
could be a master. He grins, brush in hand
to watercolor history.

Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, the new renaissance, Grand Street, Epoch, and Prairie Schooner. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, Rhino Poetry Award, the new renaissance Award for Poetry, and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She was a finalist in the GSU Poetry Contest (2007), Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Prize (2009, 2012), and received honorable mentions in the North American Review's James Hearst Poetry Contest (2008, 2010). She is the editor of Illinois Racing News, and lives on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois. She has published 11 books including The Lonely Hearts Killers and How the Sky Begins to Fall (Spoon River Press), The Atrocity Book (Lynx House Press) and Dead Horses and Selected Poems from FutureCycle Press. Selected Poems received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize.  Her latest book Properties of Matter is just out from Aldrich Press (Kelsay Books). Two chapbooks are forthcoming in 2014:  Bittersweet (Main Street Rag Press) and Ah Clio (Kattywompus Press). Colby is also an associate editor of Kentucky Review and FutureCycle Press.