#205 The Panoramas

by Robert M. Graves

Hello Pa. Here I am above the sky at the tip of our final climb. An old woman in a space suit.

This damned weightlessness wrenches my bones but no matter. The outer door is open and a tantalising blue light slices through the black, making my heart beat like a child’s. Ground-control says, “Calm down dear,” but bugger them, I’m off.

Will I see our island? The hot, dusty marketplace where I clung to your cool shadow, wearing our sign: ‘Paintings For Food’?

Your talent was thought worthless while you were alive. ‘The Panoramas’—now the most expensive paintings of all time—were exchanged, then, for stale bread.

You rendered grand vistas in impossible detail, and your reference? Not the world’s highest peaks, too poor for that, nor photos. Dreams. Your mysterious geographic accuracy still has artists and scientists alike shaking their heads, and reaching for their wallets.

You’ve looked after me well, Pa.

In return, I’ve climbed all your mountains, and filled my real eyes with all your imagined views. All but the last one, the saddest. The day you broke.

You tore at the canvas, face contorted in horror and streaked with tears. You dashed it white and blue, slashed black. Red.

It’s a tough step, into void, but I’m old and determined. The last panorama!

Oh it’s all wrong. Not like your painting at all.

Of course. One more, tough step.

Here’s the final dream from me.

I’m opening my helmet…

Farewell Pa.


JRVogt said...

Quite the wrenching piece. "An old woman in a space suit." Striking images the whole way through.

RMGraves said...

Thanks Josh, I really appreciate your comments.