Gold Girlfriend is crust brushed with yolk. Dough after baking. Pliant in her muffin-muffled skin. Yeasty and growing and thus quite living. She a humble muffin rolling o'er the plains. Near and far flung all at once. If you don't bake her she will expand up and out and so she is both "bake me at once" and "don't fence me in." She under steam. She expansion. Subtle aeration. Breathing in a bowl of her own choosing.
Mustard Girlfriend changes hue to match her nerves. Some days light pink mustard all bright and there on the sandwich in the salad outside on the picnic table linens. Other days clouded over. Emotions purpling through her face. Full flower furling at evening. Love in there deep set. Not dislodged. Eyes dimming brownward. Inscrutable shutters.
Pink Flax Girlfriend is named "being outside all the time." Her hair is pale baby hair and see-through. Sometimes yellow like hay straw. Sometimes clear filament. It tinkles like thin glass pieces tied on string clinka clinking in wind. Pink Flax Girlfriend is really bunny. She is Watership Down. Her face is white with big pink pressing through. Her eyes are shallow blue morning.
Green Girlfriend has changed her color. Before she was Grey Silver Girlfriend the color of city. Now there's still silver but it's green brown silver. Like deer fur changing color sometimes mossy sometimes tawny. Always moving kicking up things. Her coffee has just a little milk in it, twirling up from the bottom. Green Girlfriend calls herself "Forest Green" but I don't think she's right. No moss grows on her stepping stones.
Orange Girlfriend. And indeed. But not loud look-at-me orange. More, an orange with a douse of red—to deepen—bring to substance. Orange Girlfriend is not tiny or tight but of a piece and all filled in. Though different than (strictly speaking) the pure sun, she might be certain sunsets over water when there is no wind and your boat relaxes. A sun simply liking the cool stillness. Not minding that this moment will end soon. Orange Girlfriend is fire at rest.
One Girlfriend is more sound than seen and so this hesitancy of color talk in regard to her. This Girlfriend a series of swamp sounds. After-heavy-rain-sounds. Leaving-no-time-soon sounds. How to say. This woman puddly mud. Webbed feet suctioning from mud—that type of plap of sound. This thick wet more than brown. She brown but more. All colors having lost their boundaries in brown. The slickest depth of green. Something old here. The age of old rain. What might be moss or aging ferns but isn't.
One Girlfriend is not girl she's woman. One woman would pull in and harden a moment when called girl inadvertently. One Girlfriend who is this "woman-only" is buff. Pearl. With the slightest dust of pink. A bisque cream all over. But porcelain free of crackles. A tall cream in scarves and fine shoes. The name of her type of becoming is "buds of chives at point of opening." The initial fraying—part bud, part sharded, part pink, part rose. This woman at dusk. In mist. Through gauze. Through increments of weather
This poem is part of a manuscript entitled, Rebuilding the Meteorite. It was written at a time in my life when I was prolific in poetry, and therefore I was in close relationship with Language. I was lexically limber, and words poured out fluidly. This poem is close to synesthesia, sounds and images blending in my head in a glutinous manner. I imagined my closest girl friends as vibrations, which turned into colors. I remember each woman with affection and still see them as colors.
Nancy Dunlop is a poet and essayist who resides in Upstate New York, where she has taught at the University at Albany. A finalist in the AWP Intro Journal Awards, she has been published in print journals including The Little Magazine, Writing on the Edge, 13th Moon: A Feminist Literary Magazine, Works and Days, and Nadir, as well as online publications such as Swank Writing, RI\FT and alterra. Her work has also been heard on NPR.