That Day
Shobha Mahapatra

I choose the colour red
to paint my girl on a sheet
for I once saw it on a girl like me
that frock she wore was really sweet
blue is the sky
blue is the sea
blue is joy and bright
it would make my painting completely right.
here a bit green, there a bit green
Plants and trees
all should be seen
Including my eyes.
Aren’t all the vegetables green?
My father rarely brings any back home
he says it’s for others not for me.
There is still time for sunset
but I still won’t choose the colour black
My life has enough
and probably always will. I fear the dark
Yes. Why don’t I choose the colour yellow
to paint my empty sun
for the candle that has started to burn?
Mother says good times always follow
but what was the word I heard the teacher saying in school?
was it hollow or shallow?
white is the colour of the building
and orange are its window panes
where my girl is heading
I have seen kids crying while going in
and laughing while coming out
I wonder if I could go there
through the brown gates
on the brown road
hold the brown books
But where is my brown crayon?
oh I just want to scream.
I can’t leave it incomplete.
I want to see my ‘painted dreams’.