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Kermes Red

By Melissa Range Poetry

Called crimson, called vermilion—“little worm” in both the Persian and the Latin, red eggs for the carmine dye, the insect’s brood crushed stillborn from her dried body, aswarm in a bath of oak ash lye and alum to form the pigment the Germans called Saint John’s blood— the saint who picked brittle locusts for food,…

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Verdigris

By Melissa Range Poetry

Not green as new weeds or crushed juniper, but a toxic and unearthly green, meet for inking angel wings, made from copper sheets treated with vapors of wine or vinegar, left to oxidize for the calligrapher. When it’s done, he’ll cover calfskin with a fleet of knotted beasts in caustic green that eats the page…

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Minium

By Melissa Range Poetry

The monk stipples the page with convoluted trails of lead toasted rust red, brick red, the color first used for rubric and for miniature. Three thousand tiny dots prick the initials, as if the text itself were pierced with nails, red edging each green, black, or yellow letter to embolden the story of Christ’s dolor…

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Orpiment

By Melissa Range Poetry

King’s yellow for the king’s hair and halo, mixed if the monastery can’t afford the shell gold or gold leaf to crown the Lord, to work the letters of his name, the Chi-Ro, in trumpet spirals and triquetras, the yellow a cheap and lethal burnishing, the hoard not gold but arsenic and sulfur. The Word…

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Transit Alexander: A Round

By Richard Rodriguez Essay

The following is a chapter in Richard Rodriguez’s new memoir, Darling: A Spiritual Autobiography, forthcoming this October from Viking.   GOD formed you of dust from the soil. I was a sort of an afterthought. A wishbone. He blew into our nostrils the breath of life and there we were. You were his Darling Boy…

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The Open Window

By Paul Mariani Poetry

In Pierre Bonnard’s The Open Window the artist looks outward from his modest living room. It is summer, the heat baking the orange on the grill-like wall. To the right, a woman is resting in a chair, escaping as she can the sizzling midday air in which even her quizzical black cat blurs in the…

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