Each picture is heartbreakingly banal,
a kitten and a ball of yarn,
a dog and bone.
The paper is cheap, easily torn.
A coloring book's authority is derived
from its heavy black lines
as unalterable as the ten commandments
within which minor decisions are possible:
the dog black and white,
the kitten gray.
Under the picture we find a few words,
a title, perhaps a narrative,
a psalm or sermon.
But nowhere do we come upon
a blank page where we might justify
the careless way we scribbled
when we were tired and sad
and could bear no more.
Connie Wanek lives in Duluth, Minnesota where she works at the public library and renovates old houses. She is the author of two books of poems, Bonfire, published by New Rivers Press in 1997, and the new Hartley Field, just published in September by Holy Cow! Press. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, The Atlantic Monthly, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Quarterly West, and many other publications.