A Painting and A Story

Run, daughter, run.
I cast no blame, my darling girl. The blood that stains our rough-hewn floor will bear no witness: my own deceit has brought me thus. Your hand your tender hand was just its agent.
Run, daughter, run.
While you slept in another’s womb, I spun the golden thread to bind your soul, forged your crimson jewels from the hearts of skyborne birds. I stole you away, raven-haired and precious, a comfort to my ancient bones.
Run, daughter, run.
Your eyes were not my jaded eyes, your laughing mouth no shape imagined in my dreams. Delighted, I bade you grow, and masked my cursèd face with tender flesh no mirror could reflect.
Run, daughter, run.
Forget the happy years you nested in my arms. Forget the taste of sugar on your lips: my counterfeit cheek is warm no more. Let loose the finery that binds you, and cast it off like feathers on the wind.
Run, daughter, run.

Because I fed you fruits of justice, and scorned the sorry milk of sentiment, you’re right to boldly free yourself from me. Feel no regret, my darling girl, and bravely bear the subtle pains of freedom.  
Earlier this year, I was invited by a wonderful artist I know–Emily Benedict Coleman–to write a brief story to accompany a painting she was doing for the Lewisburg Literary Festival (West Virginia). I began from her rough sketch on the board and a few painted details. Her picture might have told many stories, but this is the one it told to me.
If Emily’s name looks similar to mine, it’s because she’s my husband’s niece. I am privileged to claim her as family!
For some perspective on the size, here’s a shot from August’s festival:
Now to conclude a little business…Last week I announced a drawing for a Halloween Hot Wheels prize for subscribers to my newsletter. The winner is Brandee Crisp of Illinois. Congratulations, Brandee! I plan to have a prize drawing in each of my upcoming newsletters. If you want to keep in touch and be eligible, too, sign up right here.
See you soon!

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