Charlie Becker - Poetry

When Artists Nap

by Charlie Becker

There’s barely time as eucalyptus leaves

level stillness on the ground, the air more

pure thanks to artists breathing deeply

in Griffith Park. Our blanket softens

twisted tree roots and the dry dirt beneath

when we open our eyes to late-day clouds.


We hurry. You begin now with turquoise

pastel across the top of cream colored

paper. Your blue absorbs the daylight

as it spreads growing trees from their

top branches to the sandy brown earth

you draw below. You work quickly

bottom to sides, inside to edges winding

emerald moss and mustard ivy around

trunks and sides of angular rocks. Even

a seagull circling our heads somehow

sends its caws into the purples of your

uneven wild grasses.


Afternoon bright begins to fade casting

orange shadows everywhere. You grab

some with a crayon and splash it to your

sky like fire without flames, heat causing

dusk. Then I nervously begin to search

the ground at our feet as darkness arrives

until finally, there it is, the tiny pale

glowworm we dreamed about hours ago.

With my finger I rub yellow light from

its body and transfer some to your drawing

just underneath one of the perfect flat gray

stones so your artwork is properly signed.