For Marc Chagall


By Kadya Chavkin

Strewn with blue,
it is not all happiness here.
Pain, too, floats.

You have stolen your colors from the moths of the night,
and they taught your paintbrush to fall brightly.

Let go of your knowledge! you say.
Let go of what you know is true & real &
then only what’s left will remain.

A shade dissipates into
a shadow, then breaks—
and someone else rolls it away.

It is not all beauty,
sweet wine and ripe cheese,
dappled shadows and soft light.

Sometimes, I find nothing—
I seek but do not gain.

And still, I don’t mind to lose
and still, red blue, green yellow.

Something grabs at the veins in
my eyes and unwinds the seams in the dawn.


Kadya Chavkin is a native of Evanston, Illinois. She enjoys visiting the 
Art Institute of Chicago but spends most of her free time reading.


This is Kadya's first poetry publication.