If rainbows are nothing more than
Assortments of water and light,
Then why do we attribute
So much worth and elegance to them?
There must be an explanation somewhere.
Let’s take a look.
Red, like the stripes she drew
With sharp tools on her arms
That twirled like dancing ribbons.
You pretended that you didn’t see them.
But you did.
You always saw them.
Orange, like the star tattoo decorating her left shoulder,
The one that she got to match her boyfriend’s.
The boyfriend who left her
For the aspiring guitarist with the pink mohawk.
Later the star became a flower.
Yellow, like the stuffed lion
She gave you for Christmas years ago.
You christened him Rocky
And wouldn’t let anyone play with him.
He is all that you have left of her.
You won’t lose him too.
Green, like the color of the Escalade
That she pawned from your uncle for
“A camping trip”.
She hated camping, but your uncle didn’t know that.
He didn’t know a lot of things about her.
Blue, like the shade of her eyes and
Her hair when she dyed it last Tuesday.
Like the numbness that swallows you at dinner
When you look over and see the empty plate
At the table because
Your parents don’t want to believe that
Their baby is gone and probably never coming back.
Purple, like the bruise on her face
From when she was beaten up at school.
She lied and said she ran into a door.
Your parents may have believed her
But they didn’t see the way she cried later.
Later, you imagine her looking up
At the colorful arc in the sky.
You wonder if she sees the hues
The same way that you do.
Knowing her, she would say that
The rainbow itself is immaterial,
Only a vessel for its true power.
You smile as you look up at the endless blue.
She’s happy now, you tell yourself.
Maybe one day you’ll be happy like her too.