Death of a Rainbow


In the midst of walking from library to transient book-bound nest,

Smack in the middle of blank-faced winter trees and puffy coats trailing dogs and how will I get all this done and you said the wrong thing on Monday,

Like a gods’ intermission through it all penetrates this sudden upside-down melon rind in the sky, shining with colors, blending with tart and sweet harmony. A rainbow.

So I stand in a little-used corner of the sidewalk, so I can stand forever without blocking anyone’s busy bustle, and I stand and I watch the arc-en-ciel just be. Tracing the crisp trails left by rain’s fingers in the tear-eyed fabric of the sky, pulsing and blooming like a sundress, and the old brick roofs squinting reachingly for this architectural perfection they will never surmount, above and below and around them and really nowhere at all.

And I stand on the sidewalk’s dirty armpit, and I wrap my furry blue arms around myself because there is no one there to do it for me. And I wonder what it would be like to stand here and watch the rainbow being a rainbow, with someone next to me who also didn’t mind standing in the sidewalk’s armpit in the midst of a moving mist of transient schleppers, and just being still for a moment. And I wonder if anyone is looking at me, thinking I am weird for wasting time this way.

The clouds move like cupped palms behind the arc. Starting from the smooth curved peak, it slowly dissolves into the blue-torn sky. Like acid caressing down and down the pillars of some falling utopia, softening the soft gem-tones to nothingness in air. The two feet it stands on trench farther apart it seems, separated by so many brick roofs and misty backpack-bustlers and twiggy trees. The rainbow is dying.

The death of a rainbow is not too upsetting to watch. It’s not like the death of a chicken or a librarian or a sad essay you dropped in a puddle in concrete. That’s because a rainbow isn’t concrete. It never achieves realness, so it can never be obliterated. It is in your eyes, in the rain, in the physics, in the sea of molecules you drown in and suck dry and replenish through the nose without ever realizing it. And as the rainbow dies the death of a rainbow, before my eyes, I start walking, knowing, when I get to the right place, I will find another rainbow, or another way of looking at my rainbow. You can’t possess a rainbow, so you can’t lose it. But no one can take it away from you. Unlike salesmen, cells and stars, death is just another breath in the endless joyous life that is the life of a rainbow.

Image credit: By Danesman1 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,


2 thoughts on “Death of a Rainbow

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