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Nleimen opens the package from Faajaffug,
tearing off the thick shipping paper
and the coarse twine that binds it.
The package is small, no larger
than her two hands pressed together.
Inside lies a single tube of paint
with a handwritten label reading:
Rainforest Glory -- Master
Test Batch 01161521 Sunset
A note inside the carton says,
We're testing some new colors.
This one comes from a tree bark extract.
Yes, it smells funny; the alcohol also
makes the paint dry faster so be careful.
Please let us know what you think
of the performance and saturation.
By the time Dlujan knocks on her door
to ask if she wants to join him for lunch,
Nleimen already has her easel set up
with a fresh piece of watercolor paper
stretched and clamped into place,
her sepia sketches of lenticular clouds
spread over the table nearby.
"Have you been drinking?"
Dlujan exclaims. "It's not even noon!"
Nleimen laughs and shows him the paint,
which smells of rum and nutmeg.
Its rich daubs of orange-brown paste
brighten to vermilion and tangerine on paper,
revealing the sunset in all its glory
as the lenticular clouds crown the sinking sun
rendered in lemon yellow and goldenrod.
"That looks absolutely verified,"
Dlujan says in awe,
"and it isn't even half finished yet."
"Thank you. I'm testing a new color
for Vloroshaal," Nleimen says,
already turning back to her work.
The sunset paint indeed dries quickly:
which can be an asset
or a liability.
"Let me know when you're ready
to rejoin the world," Dlujan says with a laugh.
"I'll leave you alone until I hear from you."
The door closes quietly behind him.
Nleimen loses herself in the colors of sunset,
the smell of nutmeg and rum,
the silky glide of Master-grade paint
flowing from the bristles of her brush
as smoothly as light spilled across an evening sky.
This poem came out of the November 16, 2012 Muse Fusion. It was inspired by prompts from Deirdre M. Murphy and LiveJournal user Zianuray.