Orange and Yellow by Mark Rothko (1956)


He demanded thought outside the shape and patience for the box

to seep in, set forth two figures for recession and swell, carved

from cut-aways and built-upons, where middle hue mediated,

and flanked and stabled the blending advance. Box’s unsure

edges blurred, even rounded so if we thought we could tell

where it closed, we’d  find it given way to hemorrhaging

canary fringe on a belt of orange-red, barely holding it in place.


The straight was not as sharp as we’d later paint on ceramic tiles for

hot resting pots, nor was it as flat as stretched canvas. It was rough

around the middle, frayed into sponged sill and saturated most

in its deepest squaring. My room was all four boxed walls centered

 in framed rectangular blanket-ness; blanket-ness warming

from all angles. I am small in this, in his organic reddish solid;

unrefined, burning and burnt, bold and changing in breath.