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Thursday, May 26, 2022


by Bonnie Proudfoot

This is a coloring book without lines.
This is a coloring book where Jane
wears any clothing she feels like
wearing and so does Dick, and both
of them won’t carry a gun. In this book
guns aren’t invented. Still, this book
is full of action figures, girl ones and boy ones
Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel
and Doctor Strange and Harley Quinn, ones
who move in light, and ones who delight
in mayhem. All the superheroes use their powers
to keep sharp things out of babies’ reach,
even though they shine. There’s a secret superhero
you can find her if you look, and it is you, 
this is a book that claps for you, who can
almost roll over, who has never worn
a shoe, who can eat her bare feet,
who marched at six months of age,
well, sort of marched, for women’s choice.
This is a coloring book that says it’s ok,
use all the colors, be who you are, it hopes
you see the light that shines through your light
gray eyes, a book that looks like a mirror of love,
that smells like your breath that is a mirror
of milk, that marvels at the impressionist
masterpiece that is your diaper after eating
peas and beets, and that is only something
a nana would say, yes yes, this book
has another secret superhero, NanaMan,
who has the power to stop a gun from firing
at a supermarket or a school or a church
or synagogue, Nanaman is the conscience
of the world, or some kind of weird spirit,
don’t ask me how she/he works. The book knows
that babies are born into light, they come
here with all the colors that they need, and
when the pages of the book are clasped shut
it prays that the world does not start
taking those colors away too soon. 

Bonnie Proudfoot has had fiction and poetry published in the Gettysburg Review, Kestrel, Sheila-Na-Gig, Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel, SoFloPoJo, and other journals. Her first novel Goshen Road was published by Swallow Press in January of 2020, and was  long-listed for the 2021 PEN/ Hemingway award for debut fiction. Her debut book of poems Household Gods (Sheila-Na-Gig Press) will be published in the summer of 2022.