His daughter asks him: Daddy, why is the sky blue?
And he mumbles something about the thickness
of the earth's atmosphere, and the refraction of sunlight.
Which, of course, is not what she was asking.
She was asking: Why do I tumble into that bottomless
blue pool? What is this blue ocean above me
that sucks me through my eyes into a blue place within me,
a blue forever where you, daddy, and our house,
and the whole spinning street collapse,
and I am left holding this measureless sack
for which I have no name?

And neither does the father. He has no words
to conjure that aching blueness into which
his daughter has already vanished him.
He doesn't even see it,
his light having been long since refracted
through a murky atmosphere of thought.
Though even he regrets his colorless answer—
when asked about the color blue—
so technically correct and so untrue.
What he wished he had said is: Darling—
ask the sky.

Richard Schiffman

About the poet: Richard Schiffman is a former journalist and author of two biographies: Mother of All, and Sri Ramakrishna, A Prophet For the New Age. His poems have appeared, or are upcoming in Poetry East, The North American Review, Southern Poetry Review, 32 Poems, Rosebud, Valparaiso Poetry Review and other journals.