This week’s poem, Linda Aldrich’s “About your impasto,” is addressed to the Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh. I love this poem’s dense richness, its incredible forward momentum, and the crackling energy of its images and hues. I also love how viscerally it brings us, by the end, into a transcendent and golden euphoria.

Linda Aldrich’s most recent collection is Ballast, from Deerbrook Editions. She is a former Poet Laureate of Portland, where she lives.

Poets, please note that submissions to Deep Water are open through the end of the year. Deep Water is especially eager to share poems by Black writers, writers of color, indigenous writers, LGBTQ+ writers, and other underrepresented voices. You’ll find a link to submit in the credits below.

About your impasto

By Linda Aldrich

the thick dough of it the spinning stars flinging themselves and those sunflowers
for instance how you brought them close with a laying on of your palette knife
made deep the pulsing life of them your desire all halo and citron pressing back
what would seep into you the swamp you said should not gather in a heart and
these lit torches these candelabra you wrote about to your brother and the pure
white of the sun the ochre flaming up into a field of wheat all nodding
their weighted heads to you bending with seeds and berries the heavy mortar
of shortened lives and how the wheat and the flowers blazed and burned
out how nothing could hold you here but your arm reaching for them making
a world beyond common bread and millstone the purple hues of nightfall and
it was only yes you could say to the light glorious your fingers swirling
swelling into all that would be yellow yellow yellow

Megan Grumbling is a poet and writer who lives in Portland. DEEP WATER: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. “About your impasto,” copyright 2021 by Linda Aldrich, appears by permission of the author. Submissions to Deep Water are open now and through the end of the year. For more information, go to

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