After Gerry Davis’s ‘Plein Air II’ Faced with a blank canvas in your art class, all you could think to paint was the bonfire where you keep burning your past. The flames still leap there, on the easel, though the heat went out of it years ago and you’ve been standing in the ashes too long; the effort of keeping a shine on your shoes is becoming too much. You scarcely see yourself in the mirror these days and you’re aware you have begun to dress like your mother in her Sunday best: suit, gloves, bag. Time to open the clasp and see what’s in there, her lipstick, compact and cotton hankie, or the key that will put you back behind the wheel? There are photographs of your son but best not look. You sent money for a suit for the funeral but only bits of him turned up. He moved as if someone had taken an eraser to his legs and he couldn’t connect with the ground or feel a hand on his arm. There would be no eye contact, even as you watched him leave. Instead, he turned his head to look beyond the canvas on your easel, outside the frame of a once-shared past, its final pyre.
IMAGE: Plein Air II, oil on linen, 153 x 117 cm, 2018. Gerry Davis©