This poem was written by my friend Brian Daldorph. He's a professor of English at the University of Kansas, and his book of poems Jail Time, inspired by his work teaching poetry to inmates at the Douglas County jail, was recently published by Original Plus. I asked him to read "Yellow" at a poetry reading that took place around this time last year. It always makes me see the sun and is the perfect way to start 2010.

The image is one I took. I am not sure who left this rock in my front yard, but I am grateful for it.

Wishing you a joyous and blessed new year.



You were into your Black Period,
as you called it, saying,
If Picasso could have a Blue one,
then why can't I have black?
You said it made dressing easy for you:
black shoes, black stockings, black dress,
black shawl, eye shadow, and your hair dyed

You said it made shopping easy.
You said you never tired of asking,
Do you have it in black?
You were always ready for funerals.
You said you'd never get married,
but if you did you'd already picked out
the color of your dress.
At first I couldn't believe my eyes:
a red streak in your hair,
gold earrings,
socks peeking out from your black skirt
that might be, just might be, red.
And that jacket, a deep blue, perhaps?

Next time there was yellow.
Just a day like any other, the sun not even
not even spring, but your tee-shirt
canary yellow, gaudy as an egg yolk
splashed across a black iron pan.

You said it just happened.
You said you couldn't explain it.
But it was, you said, like
waking at midnight,
opening the curtains
and finding nothing but light.

Brian Daldorph

More from Simran Sethi
Simran Sethi is an award-winning journalist and associate professor at the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications. For more information on Sethi, visit


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